Rockin On The Chain Benefits Local Woman Who Supports Her Community
by James Coulter
Melanie Brown Culpepper is a local business owner and philanthropist who has accomplished so much to support her local community. Now her community has rallied together to help her during her time of need.
Rockin On The Chain Benefitting Melanie Brown Culpepper was hosted last Saturday at Tanners Lakeside to help cover Melanie’s living expenses as she recovers from her injury.
Melanie recently received surgery for a complete torn rotator cuff and a severe torn tendon. She will start physical therapy for a minimum of 3 months of recovery time, which will put her out of work for 6 months until she can regain use of her right arm.
To help cover her bills from being off work and unable to earn an income, the fundraiser event was hosted last week. Proceeds were raised through 50/50 raffle tickets, silent auctions, and barbecue dinners.
For more than a decade, Melanie had hosted countless events at the same venue to help raise proceeds for many local causes and even for people in the loss of one’s family members or cancer benefits. She has also helped in all community events raisingmoney for Rockin on the River, Humane Society, Boys & Girls Club, and Keep Winter Haven Clean & Beautiful. Now that she is facing tough times of her own, her community came together to help her with an event for her.
“I think that all my friends coming together and the whole community coming together to do this for me has been amazing and heartfelt,” she said. “It has touched my heart more than anyone will ever know. They all came together to help pull this event together because I have done events for the community for years, and I have been out of work to help me pay my bills during my income loss. So they have done an excellent job, and I am proud of the turnout.”
Several hundred people arrived to help donate to Melanie and her needs. The entire Winter Haven Moose Lodge appeared to show their support for her, as she helped them raise money for their many efforts. Even before the event that day, people within the community made donations and spread the word about the event, explained Maria Hartley, one of Melanie’s friends and organizers for the event.
“It was a success before we even started because everyone reached out to help, so it was a success to begin with,” she said. “She has helped so many people in our community, and now it was time to help her and give back during her time of need.”
Rhonda Bryan received assistance when her husband had brain cancer. The event was hosted to help cover his medical expenses. He passed away shortly after the event. Melanie was there to raise money for her and her family. Now she and her friends wanted to return the favor to Melanie.
“That event helped buy time for my family, my husband, and paying for the bills,” Bryan said. “Mel is always there to help other people out, so now it is time to help her out. The giving that she has given, it is time to give back to her. I love Mel. And I am always here for her.”
Terica Moore has assisted with many of Melanie’s endeavors, including the Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation, a non-profit organization started by Melanie to raise awareness for heart health and assist local fire and rescue workers.
Moore had a fishing tournament hosted for her after her son passed away. Both Moore and Bryan became friends with Melanie after she helped them through their tough times. Now she and her friends have come together to do something for Melanie. Through Facebook and social media, they were able to raise awareness and proceeds, which added to the event’s success that day, she explained.
“I love Mel, everybody here loves Mel, that is why I am here to support her and help her in this difficult time with everything she has gone through and get her back on her feet,” Moore said. “Advertising on Facebook and social media has brought everybody together, and it just shows what a tight community that we are and how much we can do for each other.”
Melanie wishes to thank the following people and organizations for helping put on the event for her: Donnie Harp, Lindsey Leopard, Terica Moore, Rhonda Bryan, Maria Hartley, Joey Foley, John Straughn, Brandi Harp, Cheryl Brewer, Joey Foley & Don Burns, A Chunka Sumthin, Spankin Sadie Band, Nathan Baldwin Band, Free Whiskey Band, Braden Crawford, Jim & Judy Taylor, Kelley Harris, Karen Millette, Melissa Hancock, and Teah Harley.