Nightly News | December 28, 2013
>>> they're hard to miss during the holidays. thousands of salvation army volunteers next to their red kettles, collecting donations for the needy. tonight, we meet a small but mighty part of that army. a family of three generations, led by a man who's been ringing a bell for almost 60 years. from denver , here's nbc's leanne gregg.
>> help the salvation army !
>> reporter: on this 25- degree day denver with a request he's made countless times.
>> help salvation army right here!
>> reporter: now 85, he owned one of colorado's oldest businesses and began bell-ringing with fellow ceos in 1956 .
>> it grows on you. i get my heart warmed when people bring up their children.
>> merry christmas !
>> reporter: for close to 60 years, merrill has never missed a bell-ringing shift because it makes him happy.
>> it's just part of me, part of the season. and, you know, people like to see someone that smiles.
>> reporter: to attract donors he uses a swiss cow bell . it was his grandfather's from 1896 . it was more than the bell that was passed on.
>> his grandfather would give bags of groceries anonymously to those in his community that were less fortunate.
>> reporter: generations later, in that same spirit of giving, merrill is joined most years by his two daughters and six grandchildren.
>> how we doing, brady?
>> reporter: his wife dory, 87, and visually impaired, also comes out. the family raises $15,000 to $20,000 each christmas for the salvation army to help the needy .
>> first memory, just being really cold.
>> it's a tradition. more than the family, more than anything, to keep what my grandpa does going.
>> grandpa's taught us the right way.
>> reporter: the legacy in denver 's longest-serving bell-ringer, still taking to the streets for a good cause. leann gregg, nbc news, denver .
>> hey, hey, that's a good one!