AED Donated to Veterinary Healthcare Associates by Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation
by James Coulter
Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven helps assist our favorite furry four-footed friends and their medical needs. However, sometimes at the hospital, a medical emergency arises for their human friends as well.
Kyle Evanow, Hospital Director, knows full well how important it is to prepare for such emergencies. He once worked as a trauma nurse who helped design trauma programs all over the country. As such, he appreciates the automated external defibrillator that was recently donated to and installed at his facility.
“It feels great to have the ability to have it in the event of an emergency,” he said. “I have seen on my side of the emergency department the difference that the AEDs make as far as the outcome of the patients. I know that it makes a huge difference in the community and for the ability to a good event a good outcome in a bad situation.”
That AED was the 25th device donated by the Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation, a local non-profit organization run by Melanie Brown Culpepper. She and her team arrived on Thursday evening to donate the device and have it installed at Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven.
Melanie Brown Culpepper started her organization three years following the untimely passing of her late fiancée, Michael Culpepper, who passed away from a cardiac arrest. Not wanting others to suffer a similar fate, she now raises proceeds to install and donate AEDs across the county.
Dr. Loren Nations, hospital owner and founder, was truly inspired both by Melanie’s story and by her donation. That Melanie was able to take a traumatic moment in her life and turn it into something good for others is nothing short of inspirational, Nations said.
“I think it is awesome,” he said. “We appreciate people who are looking out for others and want to give back sometimes turning something painful into something positive so we want to support that. Hopefully, we do not have to use it, and hopefully, we can save some lives, too.”
Hope Reed, a client loyalty agent, has been working with Dr. Nations for 27 years. She is proud to have an AED donated to their facility, and she hopes it will be put to good use to help people in case such an emergency that requires it arises–however, she also hopes that no such emergency happens.
“We have a high-stress situation where a lot of people coming into the facility are in an emergency clinic, and a lot of time, people get stressed out easily, and our hospital is a game changer at how we can service our community,” he said.
Since starting her organization three years ago, Melanie has raised proceeds to donate 25 AEDs throughout the county at local businesses and other establishments like The Mission of Winter Haven, Tanner’s Lakeside, and the Winter Haven Boxing Club.
Recently, she had the opportunity to speak during a presentation at the Clearwater Arena. Her presentation about her organization proved so moving that another AED company donated nearly a dozen AEDs to her. She has since been invited to visit that company in Canada this January.
“It is so amazing how much this has been taking off and how much the word is getting out for saving lives matter,” she said. “It is great to get this out here at all these locations and be able to save someone.”