Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation Donates 21st AED to Twisted Prop
by James Coulter
Marcia and Rick Smith know the pain of losing a loved one to cardiac arrest. Both their fathers passed away from heart attacks. Not wanting anyone else to suffer a similar fate, they gladly accepted an automated external defibrillator (AED) donated to their eatery, Twisted Prop in Winter Haven.
Twisted Prop received the 21st AED donated by Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to promoting heart health. Founder Melanie Brown Culpepper and her team arrived on Tuesday evening to install the AED at the Winter Haven eatery.
“We are thrilled to have it,” Marcia said. “Both of our fathers passed away from heart attacks. So we are very excited to have it and to be able to be prepared just in case a need arises that requires an AED.”
Both Marcia and her husband, Rick, have worked alongside Melanie in her many endeavors for a long time. Melanie approached them with the prospect of receiving an AED, and they gladly accepted the offer.
“We are very blessed that Melanie decided to give us one,” Rick said. “It is good to be able to save a life. Seconds matter when someone is having a heart attack.”
Melanie decided to donate her newest AED to Twisted Prop because she knows the owners, who have assisted her for many years, and because she knows that their location near the water would necessitate such an emergency device if the need arose.
“I reached out to Marcia several months ago to add them to my list because I know they are out here on the water,” Melanie said. “I figured we would donate one AED here because we need to be able to save a life on the water here, especially with all of the events they host on the water here. In the afternoons, they have a lot of people over here for music, and I want to make sure they have an AED.”
Following the tragic passing of her late fiancée, Michael Culpepper, from cardiac arrest two years ago, Melanie started Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation to raise proceeds to donate and install AEDs across the county. So far, she has donated more than 20 AEDs at local establishments like Tanner’s Lakeside, Old Man Frank’s, and Caribbean Bay.
Melanie was recently interviewed for Bay News 9 in Tampa. Since then, she has been contacted by potential locations for AED donations. So huge has her list grown that she is booked until April, Melanie said.
“They are high in demand, so I need to keep funding in to keep them coming out,” she said.
She and her team at Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation have been invited to the Clearwater Arena. Nov. 2 and 3. A Canadaiancompany will also be installing their own AED there. They will also be joined by a Nashville AED company along with the National Heart Association.
For more information about the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation, visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/honoringculpepper/