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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

1st Presbyterian Church of Lake Alfred Receives AED from Culpepper Cardiac Foundation

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1st Presbyterian Church of Lake Alfred Receives AED from Culpepper Cardiac Foundation

by James Coulter

First Presbyterian Church of Lake Alfred and Life Skills Academy will now be able to assist people suffering cardiac arrest and other emergencies with their new automated external defibrillator (AED) donated to them by the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation.

The AED was given to the church and academy, which has more than 40 staff members and 100 students. The new device will allow them to better attend to the health and safety of its members and students in case of an emergency.

“It is fantastic,” said John Duncan, Director of Facilities. “It will help in many ways. We are really appreciative of her foundation. I think it is an excellent program that will help a lot of people around Polk County. This will be a good thing for the church and academy.”

Terry Gier, principal of Life Skills Academy, feels blessed to have the AED donated to their facility. They would not have been able to afford such a valuable piece of equipment otherwise, she said.

“It feels amazing,” she said. “It offers peace of mind. We have a lot of kids with medical needs and we have a large student body and staff, so it will help all the parents and staff feel better about their children’s safety.”

The Culpepper Cardiac Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting heart health and assisting local EMTs and other fire rescue workers. Since its inception two years ago, the foundation has donated eight AEDs to local businesses and organizations, including Cutting Edge Salon, Old Man Franks, The Mission, Bartow American Legion, Winter Haven Moose Lodge, and Winter Haven Boxing Club.

Melanie Brown Culpepper started the foundation after the tragic death of her fiancé, Michael Culpepper, who passed away from cardiac arrest. She appreciates the community support she has received for her endeavors.

“I am very happy I can help,” she said. “It feels amazing and it is awesome that everyone comes together and helps to donate more to get more of these out. I am still raising money, but I have enough to put in a new AED each month and to offer two scholarships for fire and EMT.”

Terica Moore has been a longtime friend of Melanie. Her fiancée donated the money to help install the newest AED at 1st Presbyterian. She attended the donation and installation on his behalf as he was busy at work that day.

“I think it is great,” she said. “Melanie does a lot of good for the community. When he found out she did this, he wanted to do something to help. So he wanted to give the money to put these in for us.”

Eric Sheamus was the EMT on the scene when Michael Culpepper passed away. Ever since he and Melanie have worked together through the foundation. He installed the AED at the church and offered a demonstration on how to use it. Recently, he offered a similar demonstration to the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team.

“I think it is really good,” he said. “We have been doing it for a few years now…I think it is great, people are seeing it now, going online, it is a great thing.”

For more information about Culpepper Cardiac Foundation, visit their website at: https://honoringculpepper.com/

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