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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Caribbean Bay Receives AED from Culpepper Cardiac Foundation

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Caribbean Bay Receives AED from Culpepper Cardiac Foundation

by James Coulter

Recently, Caribbean Bay in Winter Haven experienced an incident where a patron required immediate medical assistance and where someone had to race across the street to Old Man Frank’s to procure an automated external defibrillator (AED).

The popular tavern along Lake Howard is more prepared for such emergencies now that an AED has been installed there through a donation by Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation.

Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to assisting local emergency workers and installing AEDs throughout the county, installed its eighth AED at Caribbean Bay on Wednesday evening.

Melanie Brown Culpepper, the founder of the organization, has been close friends with the bar’s owner, Nancy Cooley, for nearly 25 years, and Cooley, in turn, has sponsored and supported everything Melanie has done through Culpepper’s and her other philanthropic endeavors.

As such, Caribbean Bay, which Cooley has owned for the past 31 years, seemed to be the most suitable location for the latest donation by the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation. The foundation had also donated the AED at Old Man Frank’s across the street.

“It is very good that an AED has been donated and installed here,” Nancy said. “I sponsor everything she [Melanie] does. I am very proud to help her out, and I am glad to have received one [of her donations].”

Melanie started her foundation two years ago following the tragic passing of her late fiancée, Michael Culpepper, who passed away from cardiac arrest. Michael had served as a security guard for Old Man Frank’s and would also provide security for Caribbean Bay and Tanner’s Lakeside.

“So he was a big part of this area, and Nancy has supported me through all of this,” Melanie said. “I just want to thank everyone for coming out to support me with the benefits to help raise the money for these AEDs, also Nancy Cooley the owner of Caribbean Bay has sponsored me for benefits and she has given a lot of her time and money to help me buy these.”

Leon Fleeman, a cousin of Michael Culpepper, was visiting the area when Melanie installed and donated the AED. Leon was a close relative of Michael, who supported him through his formative high school years. As such, he appreciates her efforts to honor Michael’s memory through such donations.

“I think it is amazing everything she does,” she said. “She looks out for people who are not as fortunate as others. The community often does not have the funding to provide things like this that are lifesaving. And it is incredible that she takes time out of her life to do things like this for people. Hopefully, it will save one life, and that is worth it.”

Since its inception, Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation has installed nine AEDs at local businesses and organizations across the county, including Cutting Edge Salon, Old Man Franks, The Mission, Bartow American Legion, Winter Haven Moose Lodge, Winter Haven Boxing Club, Winter Haven Ski Team, and 1st Presbyterian Church. More AEDs are planned to be installed at Tanners Lakeside, Apples Lounge, Boys and Girls Club of Winter Haven, Harborside Restaurant, and Victory Ridge Academy.

For more information, visit their website at: https://honoringculpepper.com/

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