AED Donated to Apple Lounge Through Culpepper Cardiac Foundation
by James Coulter
Apple Lounge is more than a place for darts, pool, and good food and drinks. It’s also the heart of the local community. As its co-owner, Jennifer Denby, puts it, they’re the “Cheers” of Recker Highway.
Apple Lounge is the heart of the community along Recker Highway. Its late owner, Tim Leopard, was the heart and soul of that bar. So it was only fitting that his legacy would be honored by donating an automated external defibrillator to Apple Lounge.
The Culpepper Cardiac Foundation donated its twelth AED to Apple Lounge in Winter Haven. The AED was provided on Wednesday afternoon, and a demonstration was presented to its staff on its proper usage in case of an emergency.
Normally, the AED would be installed and demonstrated by a member of the Winter Haven EMT—namely Erik Shimkus, who has been cooperating with the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation since its inception.
However, Erik was unavailable that afternoon. Fortunately, Luke Stermen, a staff member at Apple Lounge, was certified and trained to offer the presentation himself.
“I was glad that Luke was certified and was able to do the demonstration for his staff as I wanted them all to know how to use the AED properly,” said Melanie Brown Culpepper, founder of Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation.
Melanie has been good friends with the owners and staff at the Apple Lounge. She has participated in many of their fundraisers and events. So the bar was the best location she could think of to donate an AED through her foundation.
“I think it was a great place to pick,” she said. “Because of Timmers [Tim Leopard] doing so much for our community, and with Leopard Legacy continuing his work, and Lindsay [his wife] supporting Culpepper’s Cardiac, as well as the fact that they have a lot of people that are gathered for benefits and entertainment, I’m honored for it [the AED] to be at their establishment. We all love the Apple.”
Melanie started the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation two years ago following the untimely death of her fiancee, Michael Culpepper, who passed away from a cardiac arrest. To honor his memory, she started the foundation to raise money to donate AEDS throughout the county.
Currently, AEDs have been installed at: Cutting Edge Salon, Old Man Franks, The Mission, Bartow American Legion, Winter Haven Moose Lodge, Winter Haven Boxing Club, Winter Haven Ski Team, 1st Presbyterian Church, Caribbean Bay, the Boys and Girls Club of Winter Haven, and Tanners Lakeside. More AEDs are planned to be installed at Harborside Restaurant, Victory Ridge Academy, and Eagle Lake Ballpark.
The AED at Apple Lounge was provided through a donation by local band Spankin Sadie, which had previously donated two AEDs to the Cypress Water Ski Team Stadium and the Boys and Girls Club of Polk County.
Melissa Codgill, the head singer of Spankin Sadie, said she chose Apple Lounge because it was always a faithful venue for her band, and that the late owner was supportive of the community. As such, it only made sense to honor his legacy by donating an AED to his bar.
“It is needed here,” she said. “This place is a great place to hang out and always have a lot of people. Anything can happen here at any time.”
Melissa and her band have performed at many fundraisers hosted by Melanie. She is especially fond of the Cardiac Culpepper Foundation and its mission to install AEDs throughout Polk County.
“It is a wonderful foundation,” she said. “This [AED] can save someone’s life. If we can save one life, it will be worth it.”
The Culpepper Cardiac Foundation is currently working on an app that will allow users to locate nearby AEDs within their immediate vicinity. They will also be donating three scholarships to fire and EMT students.
For more information, visit their website at: https://honoringculpepper.com/