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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Camp Margaritaville Received an AED. So, They Returned the Favor and Gave One to Barrel 239

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Camp Margaritaville Received an AED. So, They Returned the Favor and Gave One to Barrel 239

by James Coulter

Camp Margaritaville in Auburndale received an automated external defibrillator (AED) from a local organization. So, they decided to return the favor and raise money to donate an AED to another local establishment: Barrel 239 in Winter Haven.

After raising proceeds through a pay-it-forward fundraiser and a private concert, Camp Margaritaville donated an AED to Barrel 239 through Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation. The local campgrounds were inspired to make their donation after receiving their own AED through the organization.

“With this AED, we are paying it forward,” said Dawn Priebe, General Manager of Camp Margaritaville. ” This AED was an opportunity for us to give back to the community.”

Camp Margaritaville was able to raise $1,200 for the AED through proceeds from a private concert, through which they collected one dollar per ticket. They also hosted a Cheers for Charity fundraiser a month ago.

Being able to receive a life-saving device for their campgrounds, as well as being able to raise money to donate their own AED, was nothing short of a great opportunity from a great organization, Priebe said.

“Oh, my gosh! It was so tremendous,” she exclaimed. “It was incredible. We need to have life-saving devices on our property. To have [Culpepper’s] be a part of it and have it be community support, and to be able to spread some love and support is amazing.”

Melanie Brown Culpepper started Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation following the untimely passing of her late fiancée, Michael Culpepper, who passed away from cardiac arrest. Not wanting anyone else to suffer a similar fate, she started her organization to donate AEDs across Polk County.

The most recent AED was donated and installed at Barrel 239 in Winter Haven on Tuesday. The local bar, which is a full liquor bar that specializes in whiskey and was started six years ago, is owned by three owners, all of whom were pleased by the donation.

Ashta Compton was inspired by how these donations were made through an organization that was created following a personal tragedy.

“It is so kind and thoughtful,” she said. “I know that every foundation stems from some sort of tragedy. The fact that Melanie has put together this particular foundation and done amazing things for the community through her tragedy. It is very heartfelt. And I am excited about this for me and my staff. This is a beautiful thing she is doing for the community.”

“I think that anything that can be donated to help protect people and help in a situation like that, and help make places a safe environment, I think that is wonderful to give people options,” said Chris Barton

“I think it was a good idea,” said Jose Masscorro. “I think every place should have them. Because you never know when something is going to happen.”

Since starting Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation three years ago, Melanie has installed more than 30 AEDs in businesses and other establishments across Polk County. She also created an app that tracks and locates where various AEDs have been set up in case of an emergency.

Their next few AEDs will be installed at Garrison Properties in Davenport and The Ritz Theater in Winter Haven. She said she would not be able to make such donations without the generous donations and support from the community.

“The success is always from the community because without their support I would not be able to do this,” she said. “I do need their donations and sponsorships. Without all of that, I would not be able to do all this.”

To learn more about Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation, visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/honoringculpepper

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