Eagle Lake Fire Department Receives Donations from Culpepper Cardiac Foundation
by James Coulter
The fire fighters at Polk County Fire Rescue Station 17 in Eagle Lake received home cooked meals delivered to them by the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation.
On Friday afternoon, Melanie Brown Culpepper delivered to the station several trays of homecooked food, including meatloaf, brownies, and packaged chips and drinks. The food was prepared by Pastor Bobby Williams of Freedom Church in Lake Wales.
Captain Sean Stewart and his staff were pleased by the delivery. As someone who has been working in his career for 25 years, he appreciates when local residents show their support for his service.
“This delivery is amazing,” he said. “We really appreciate it. It lifts our spirits. Nice to have a nice meal brought to us. We can sit down and eat…Very much so greatly appreciated.”
Captain Stewart was hard-pressed to answer the question of what motivates him to get out of bed in the morning and perform his duty, as he said it is a question that often stumps him. He did say that he loves his job and goes above and beyond the call to perform his duty.
“It is the calling being in the fire service,” he said. “It is something you are drawn to….There are so many components of it. All I can really say is thank you so much. Very much appreciated.”
Melanie Brown Culpepper started her non-profit foundation, Culpepper Cardiac Foundation, more than a year ago following the untimely death of her fiancée, Michael Culpepper. A former security officer, he had suffered and passed away from cardiac arrest, despite the best efforts by the EMT who arrived on the scene to tend to him.
Melanie decided to honor his legacy by starting her foundation to raise proceeds and awareness for local fire fighters and other rescue service members. She host various fundraisers to purchase AEDs to install throughout the city. Thus far, she has installed four AEDS at four local businesses: her own salon, Melanie’s Cutting Edge, Old Man Franks, Winter Haven Boxing Club, and The Mission.
Every first Friday of the month, she delivers homecooked food to local fire stations. Within the past year, she has made deliveries to stations in Lake Wales, Winter Haven, Haines City, Bartow, Frostproof, and Dundee. She especially appreciated her trip to Eagle Lake, since she had previously lived there and used to visit the station with her children.
“I am proud to be doing it every month for a certain fire department,” she said. “I really enjoyed coming here today because I raised my kids here in Eagle Lake. It is nice to be back here today. I used to walk my son here to this fire department to see the fire trucks. So it is an honor to be here today with this group.”
Currently, she and her team are focusing on continuing to make deliveries to stations throughout the county. She plans on hosting an event for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in the near future, though no immediate plans have been made. Her organization plans on conferring two scholarships to EMTs and firefighters respectively.