About Us

Merrill Lundgren "The Bucket Man"

Merrill Lundgren "The Bucket Man"

MEET OUR FOUNDER

The founder of Bucketfillers For Life, Merrill H. Lundgren, was affectionately dubbed “The Bucket Man” over seven years ago by middle-school students in his first classroom workshop.

Although The Bucket Man has used the metaphor of the bucket and dipper (created over 40 years by the late Dr. Donald O. Clifton) since 1979 in his well-known quality-of-life seminars, he did not bring the message to schools until 2003.  Since that day in May, the excellent reputation and powerful ripple effects of Merrill’s programs have spread throughout the county.  His work inspired the creation of two children’s picture books about bucket filling and a third book for classrooms and families written by his daughter, Stacey.  A complementary bucket filling company (some call it “competing”) was begun several years ago by a former apprentice of Merrill’s, further spreading the positive message.

Merrill is proud to have served in the U.S. Army Military Police during World War II.  He landed on Utah Beach on D-Day + 4, and he received five Battle Stars for his two years of service in Europe through the end of the conflict.  In 1994, son Peter compiled a manuscript of hundreds of letters that Merrill wrote to his wife, Edna, during the war.  The manuscript, Almost at the Front expertly weaves his letters into actual war events taking place at that time. The manuscript was subsequently discovered by British war historians at the Second World War Experience Centre in Leeds, England.  It, along with some of Merrill’s original letters, is on display at the centre. You may purchase Almost at the Front in its entirety HERE.

The Bucket Man says “My dream of leaving a legacy of love and caring is being realized in ways I could not have imagined.  Not only have thousands and thousands of children benefited from this message, but my own children, Stacey and Peter, joined me in the effort.  I am a happy man!”

Merrill, age 92, continues to co-present in schools and businesses.  He lives in Brighton, Michigan, with his wife of 68 years, Edna.  They have two children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

"Our bucketfilling assemblies and workshops have been some of the most impressionistic initiatives we have undertaken! Our students have learned how to articulate and share their feelings with others using positive communication, they know how they can make a difference in someone’s life every day with their words or actions, and they have openly shared what they’ve learned with their families and loved ones! We have received touching compliments and letters of thanks from parents about the “amazing conversations that occurred between their children following these assemblies”. Coupled with a positive school-wide behavior plan that we implemented last year, Bucketfilling has now become part of our school culture. We will continue to host workshops each year to maintain this positive energy in our school community."

LouAnne Pisha, Principal
Crissman Elementary School
Utica School District
Shelby Township, MI
“Thanks again for coming to Kohl, the impact on our school was immediately noticeable. Parents approached me the next day wanting more information because their children came home talking about filling buckets. Below are some comments from the teachers about the programs and the staff development: - I thought it was great, both the assemblies and the PD. Kelly is really good at what he does. - It was definitely worthwhile and gave me some good ideas for the future - The best part is that we can immediately use this in the classroom without much more instruction - I thought Kelly was humorous and positive and I enjoyed his presentations - I LOVED IT!!! Thank you for bringing this into our building, and I hope we can have another one next year - I really liked the assembly and found the after school presentation for teachers inspiring

Eric Warneke, Counselor, Kohl Elementary School, Broomfield, CO
“We had the pleasure of having Kelly Nickel present his Bucketfilling assemblies at our site. He was an energetic and entertaining presenter who delivered a strong message that captured and kept the attention of the students. I strongly recommend him to any site looking to make an impression on students in regards to negating bullying behaviors and promoting positive and uplifting behaviors.”

Joe Donovan, Principal, Pleasant Grove Elementary School, Elk Grove, CA