Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation Installs 3rd AED at Winter Haven Boxing
by James Coulter
Winter Haven Boxing is the third local business to receive an automated external defibrillator (AED) donated and installed by Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to assisting first responders.
Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation had previously donated AEDs to two other local businesses: Melanie’s Cutting Edge and Old Man Frank’s. All three defibrillators were funded through the proceeds raised through the various fundraisers hosted throughout the year by the non-profit organization.
Melanie Brown Culpepper started the organization in honor of her late fiancée Michael Brown, who passed away last year due to cardiac arrest, despite the best efforts of the first responders who attended to him.
Her organization has hosted various fundraisers this year, from 5K races to fishing and pool tournaments. The proceeds she raised have already been used to install defibrillators at two local businesses: Melanie’s Cutting Edge, her own salon, and Old Man Frank’s, where her late fiancée served as a security officer.
Melanie decided to donate the third defibrillator to Winter Haven Boxing, where she has been attending for the past eight weeks. Her workout regimen with the head coach, Marco Fazzini, has edified her through both body and mind, as it has helped her cope through her loss.
“Marco and this family gave me my life back,” she said. “They helped me live again, and helped me heal. I am thankful for Winter Haven for helping me through that.”
Denise Budde, who works at the gym, expressed her gratitude for the AED installed at their facility. Ever since Melanie first started training there, she has been a wonderful addition to their family, and her donation not only made their place safer, but also enlightened them about heart health and safety through Melanie’s organization.
“We are super excited to have this,” Budde said. “I cannot get the smile off my face. I kind of feel like we are superstars. There are only a few around town. So if you come here, now we want to make sure that everyone is safe and has the opportunity and know where it is at and they can come here for it.”
Eric Shimkus, an engineer, firefighter, and paramedic from the Winter Haven Fire Department, helped install the AED at the gym. He has been assisting Melanie with her endeavors ever since she first started. He appreciates how her organization is helping spread awareness about his profession and make their job easier by installing these defibrillators.
“So I think it was way past expectations, just putting one defibrillator in a community is huge, let alone three or four. And Melanie wants to do five next year…So going along with Melanie on the civilian side and our side, it is great having this.”