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Winter Haven Moose Lodge Receives AED From Culpepper Cardiac Foundation 

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Winter Haven Moose Lodge Receives AED From Culpepper Cardiac Foundation

by James Coulter

The Winter Haven Moose Lodge recently experienced an episode where one of its members required defibrillation. Thankfully, they now have an automated external defibrillator (AED) installed at their facility in case of such emergencies.

Winter Haven Moose Lodge 1023 was the fifth organization in Winter Haven to receive an AED donated to them by the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of heart health and assisting local fire and rescue team members.

A few weeks ago, a Moose Lodge member experienced an incident that required contacting emergency services. They had fallen out of their chair and had been placed on the floor. Otherwise, the other members could do nothing but look after them until rescue workers arrived on the scene

“We just had a recent incident a couple of weeks ago where we wish we had this [AED],” Ed Willis, Moose Lodge President. “We are happy to have it. We needed it. It has been a long time coming, and thank God for the Culpepper Foundation.”

Melanie Brown Culpepper arrived to donate the AED, while Eric Shimkus, a local EMT and firefighter, installed the cabinet and demonstrated how to use the device in case of an emergency. Considering recent events, the Moose Lodge was grateful for the emergency device being donated to them.

“We thank Melanie Brown with the Culpepper Foundation for doing this for us,” Mike Myers, Moose Lodge Vice President. “We needed it. Gotta have it. And we appreciate it very much.”

This AED was the fifth to be donated by the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation to a Winter Haven business and establishment. Other AED locations include Old Man Frank’s, Winter Haven Boxing Gym, Melanie’s Cutting Edge, and The Mission.

Melanie Brown started her foundation nearly a year after her late fiancée, Michael Culpepper, passed away from cardiac arrest. To help keep his legacy alive, she started her foundation to help raise funds for AEDs and scholarships for local firefighters and EMTs.

Brown has been involved with the Moose Lodge for a long time. She had hosted a fundraiser there for a local child, Xander, who passed away from cancer, with the funds going towards his family. She has also assisted with many of their fundraising events such as the Redneck Games. 

The Lodge has been a longtime supporter of her foundation and its fundraising efforts. Finally, they have assisted her through her time of need with her recent arm surgery. As such, she saw fit to donate an AED for their facility.

“It feels really good,” Brown said. “It makes me feel good because Moose Lodge has supported me in everything I have done with the Culpepper Foundation. So I wanted to give back to them.”

Eric Shimkus was the EMT/firefighter who had assisted her fiancée during his cardiac arrest. He has since become a close friend of Melanie’s and has helped her with her foundation, especially since it helps EMTs like himself through her grants and scholarships. Most of all, he wants to do his part to raise awareness and provide education to the local community.

“I think it is great,” he said. “It is really good that you get out there in the community and help out how we can. [We make] them aware of AEDs and cardiac arrest. There is not a lot of education out there where people know about CPR. Hopefully, we can do more this year and do even more next year.”

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

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