Culpepper Cardiac Foundation Deliver Lunch to First Responders at Inagural First Responders Friday
Firefighters and other first responders received a hearty lunch delivered to them by volunteers from the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation and Freedom Tour Church on Friday.
More than a dozen meals were delivered to the No. 1 Winter Haven Fire Department, complete with meatloaf and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, dinner rolls, brownies, and sports drinks.
The homemade lunches were prepared by Bobby Williams, Pastor of Freedom Church, and delivered with the help of Melanie Brown Culpeper of the Cardiac Culpepper Foundation, Brandie Aderholt of Manny’s Chophouse, and John Haight, a former fire inspector.
Melanie delivered these meals as part of her inagural initiative, First Responders Friday. On the first of every month, she and her team of volunteers plan on delivering meals to local first responders.
The Winter Haven Fire Department was their first choice, as the fire team was on sight on the day her late fiancée, Michael Culpepper, suffered cardiac arrest and passed away. She wanted to do something for the people who assisted him during his last moments.
“It touches me more than you could ever imagine,” Melanie said. “I wanted to make sure I gave back to the first responders. That is one of the big things about the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation. That we support first responders.”
Since that fateful day, Melanie started the Cardiac Culpepper Foundation to provide assistance to local first responders. She had especially become friends with fire fighter and paramedic Eric Shimkus, who was on sight when her husband passed away.
“We had worked many events together,” she said. “I did not know it was him at first, but then when I found out it was him, I had to call him and ask him a lot of questions because I was so upset about losing Michael. He guided me through everything and the team of Winter Haven was number one with me that day.”
Eric appreciated the meals that were delivered to his department that day. He especially appreciated everything the Cardiac Culpepper Foundation has done to help assist him and other first responders, whether through food deliveries, donations raised through local events, and defibrillators provided at various locations in the city. Of course, the free food was good, too.
“Anytime we have food delivered to us is really nice,” he said. “It is an honor when the citizens of the city do this. We come and help them in need, and they repay us with these small things, these little gestures, that show us we are appreciated in the community.”
Since being founded nearly a year ago, The Cardiac Culpepper Foundation has hosted various fundraisers. Recently, they hosted a 5K walk that raised $5,100 for two $1,000 scholarships. One scholarship went to an EMT student, the other for a cardiac student.
The Foundation has also purchased two defibrillators that will be set up at different locations in Winter Haven. One will be set up in Melanie’s own store, Melanie’s Cutting Edge. The other will be set at Old Man Frank’s where Michael Culpepper was head security for many years.
Their next event will be the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation “Fishin For A Heart” Tournament, to be hosted on Sat. June 12 at Lake Shipp. First place will win $1,000. Check-in is at 5:30 a.m., and weigh-in is at 3p.m. at Tanners Lakeside with music and activities.
For more information, visit their website at: https://www.facebook.com/honoringculpepper