This family teaches philanthropy through bellringing

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The Fie family legacy of service to The Salvation Army spans more than 60 years and is still going strong, with the family coming together every Christmas season in Denver to ring bells at the Army’s red kettles. In the Share Change video, “A Family of Volunteers,” family members, including patriarch Merrill Fie and his wife, Dorie, speak about their commitment to giving back.

“Philanthropy is taught; it’s not an innate thing within us,” said Intermountain Divisional Commander Major Mike Dickinson. “Merrill and Dorie Fie are lovely people that have been supporting The Salvation Army for 63 years, if you can imagine—1956 when Merrill Fie first stood at a Salvation Army kettle.

“One of the things that I am so impressed with is the way that Merrill has taught his family, the way that he has led this community, as the owner of businesses to say, ‘Giving back is important and I will lead the charge.’”

Every year Merrill and his extended family gather at the appointed time to receive their gear from the kettle coordinator.

“Our grandchildren have rung bells since they were 2, 3 years old,” Merrill Fie said. “They have had it explained to them why they were ringing bells and how it helped others.”

The Fies’ enthusiasm was contagious.

“They were as excited as we are,” Dorie Fie said. “They always felt that Christmas didn’t start until we rang bells.”

Merrill emphasized the importance of setting an example for the younger generation.

“Our children learned by just watching us and seeing the things we did,” he said.

The Fies’ youngest grandson, Brady Anderson, is 19.

“I started ringing when I was about 2 years old, apparently,” Anderson said. “This is one of my favorite days every single year. It’s getting to spend quality time with my family, and also trying to make a difference.”

Dorie Fie remembered another cousin who showed up with his 7-year-old daughter. She quickly caught the spirit.

When she saw our two granddaughters dancing and all, she wanted to be there, so they had to put an apron on her,” Dorie Fie said. “She was so excited and she says to her father, ‘Dad, can I come back next year?’”

The Fies, and others like them, are essential to The Salvation Army’s outreach.

“Volunteers are the army behind the Army, and it’s never been more true than it is today,” Major Dickinson said. “The Salvation Army is committed to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and meeting human needs in his name without discrimination. Families like the Fies, well, they make that all possible.”

Bell-ringing, and helping The Salvation Army, ties in with the Fies’ philosophy.

“We think we should leave this world a better place than when we came,” Merrill Fie said. “And if you’re going to do that, you must serve and help others.”

To honor Merrill and Dorie Fie for their dedicated service, The Salvation Army named them “honorary colonels” earlier this year during a National Advisory Board event at The Salvation Army Harbor Light in Denver. Read more at

Do Good:

  • In North America, 1 in 8 Americans don’t know where their next meal will come from. The Salvation Army serves more than 56 million meals across the nation each year. Find out more in our guide to The State of Hunger in America and what you can do to help. 
  • Sign up for the Do Good Digest, our weekly newsletter, and stay tuned for more stories of giving.
  • Visit to find The Salvation Army nearest you—and get involved in doing good. 
  • Give to support the fight for good in your community. 


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