AED Installed at Boys & Girls Club Citrus Center
by James Coulter
Melanie Brown Culpepper has assisted the Boys and Girls Club of Polk County for more than a decade by volunteering through fundraisers like Smoke on the Water and EggFest. Now she had given back to the organization by donating an automated external defibrillator (AED) to their facility.
The Culpepper Cardiac Foundation donated its 10th AED to the Boys and Girls Club Citrus Center in Winter Haven. The AED was installed in the facility’s lobby along with a plaque commemorating the late Kenneth Cogdill, a local youth pastor towhom the AED was donated in memory.
Mike Hosier, who has served as the unit director for the facility since March, appreciates the donation, as it will allow his organization to better provide for the safety of their children.
“I think it is a lifesaver, both figuratively and literally,” he said. “You can never be too safe when it comes to the life of the young people that we serve. It is important to have life-saving equipment when the situation presents itself. Thank God we have not had a situation where we have needed it. Safety is our number one priority. You can never be too safe when it comes to the life of our children.”
The AED was sponsored by Fred, Melissa, and Mary Cogdill in memory of Kenneth Cogdill. Fred and Melissa also sponsored the AED that was installed at the Cypress Gardens Ski Team stadium at Lake Silver in Winter Haven. They are also members of the Spankin Sadie band that had performed at various fundraisers for the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation.
“Any way we can help to make things better, we are all for it,” Fred said. “We are for them whenever they need it. They are a great organization, and we look forward to helping with them more.”
“We are happy this will be in the youth center,” said Melissa. “A lot of things are not considered for the youth when it comes to cardiac issues, but they happen a lot.”
Melanie Brown started Culpepper Cardiac Foundation two years ago following the death of her late fiancée, Michael Culpepper, who passed away from cardiac arrest. Since then, she has raised money to assist local firefighters and other first responders and install AEDs throughout the county.
Her organization has installed ten AEDs at local businesses and organizations, including Melanie’s Cutting Edge, Old Man Frank’s, Winter Haven Boxing Club, The Mission of Winter Haven, the Winter Haven Moose Lodge, the Bartow American Legion, the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Alfred, and Caribbean Bay.
Another AED will be installed at Tanner’s Lakeside later this month. She also plans on installing two more AEDs over the next month, and she will be raising money for two scholarships to be conferred in May to eligible fire, EMT, and medicalstudents.
“This one [donation] touched me a lot as I’ve helped the Boys and Girls Club for 11 years now and have helped raise money throughout the years to support them,” she explained. “Curtis Reddick who has been there for years has been here for me no matter what event I’ve had and it’s what friends do in helping one another.”
The donation of the AED at the Boys and Girls Club received a significant turnout, as many of Codgill’s family and friends attended to show their support for their late loved one.
“I was overwhelmed in disbelief in how many showed up to support us in putting up this AED and it meant so much to me to see the way their family all pulled together to be here in support of Their love for Kenneth Cogdill who also had heart problems,” Melanie said.
“I just want to thank everyone who helps donate, support, sponsor, and shows up to help raise money for Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation,” she continued. “Without you all we couldn’t do this as it takes us all as a community pulling together to make this happen. If we save one person this is all worth it. It could be your family member or even your own life you saving.”
For more information about the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation, visit their website at: https://honoringculpepper.com