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Camp Margaritaville Auburndale Receives AED from Culpepper Cardiac Foundation

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Camp Margaritaville Auburndale Receives AED from Culpepper Cardiac Foundation

by James Coulter

If anyone’s wasting away again in Margaritaville, they won’t be doing so because of cardiac arrest. A new automated external defibrillator (AED) will ensure that.

Camp Margaritaville Auburndale received a new AED donated by the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation on July 22. The device will ensure the health and safety of the resort’s visitors and guests staying at its 57 cabins and cabana and 401 RV sites.

Amanda Dunavent, an employee at Camp Margaritaville, had reached out to the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation, as she is a friend of the son and daughter-in-law of its founder, Melanie Brown Culpepper.

“Scott Schleck, General Manager, spoke with me about how he was glad that the resort was getting an AED placed here and fantastic that CCF was able to make it happen,” Melanie wrote on her Facebook page. “He knows the importance in hope to save a life with the AED, but of course, hopes to never have to use it.”

Melanie and several other volunteers visited the resort, where they were treated to a personal tour by Renee Evans, an employee who had been working at the resort before it even opened in 2020. Melanie wrote: “She said the resort and campground [are] at capacity every weekend and you never know if someone will need it and they want to be prepared for their quests in case ever needed.”

Evans expressed gratitude for the donated AED and expects it to be put to good use in case of an emergency, which she hopes never needs to happen.

“It was unbelievable that the unit was a donation,” she said. “We have researched and priced to have three units in our park and never expected this opportunity to have one donated. Culpepper Cardiac Foundation is an incredibly generous, thoughtful and charitable organization. The foundation certainly turned a tragedy into an amazing opportunity to give back.”

As a token of their appreciation, both Evans and Schleck pledged to add Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation to their Cheers for Charity, where a percentage of their margarita sales is donated monthly to select charitable organizations.

“This meant so much to me,” Melanie wrote on Facebook. “It was heartfelt and I want to just say thank you Margaritaville. I’m looking forward [to] seeing you all again as I’m definitely going to be taking my family.”

Culpepper Cardiac Foundation was started two years ago following the untimely death of Melanie’s fiancée, Michael Culpepper, who passed away from cardiac arrest. Her foundation raises proceeds to install AEDs throughout Polk County and to help support local EMTs and other rescue workers.

Thus far, her organization has donated and installed more than 15 AEDs in Winter Haven and other surrounding cities. Local establishments that have received AEDs include Tanner’s Lakeside, Old Man Frank’s, and The Mission.

Culpepper Cardiac Foundation will be hosting its annual fundraiser, “Saving Lives Matter”, at Tanner’s Lakeside in Winter Haven on Sep. 16. For more information, visit their website at: https://honoringculpepper.com/

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