Racks for A Heart Pool Tourney Being Hosted This Saturday at Slates 8 Billiards
by James Coulter
Get ready to strike the eight ball in the corner pocket. This Saturday, Slates 8 Billiards in Winter Haven will be hosting Racks for a Heart, a fundraiser to benefit Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation.
Sign-up for the pool tournament will start at 11 a.m., and the tournament itself will begin at noon. The fundraiser will also be hosting 50/50 raffle drawings and selling shirts and wristbands.
All proceeds will benefit the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for local first responders and raising funds for installingdefibrillators throughout the Winter Haven area.
Melanie Brown Culpepper started the organization earlier this year. She was inspired by the death of her late fiancée, Michael Culpepper, who passed away from cardiac arrest last year.
Melanie wanted to honor her late fiancée’s memory and support the efforts of local EMTs and other first responders. So, over the past year, she has hosted various fundraisers, from fishing tournaments to 5K races, to raise proceeds for defibrillators.
She has since installed two in local businesses, her salon, Melanie’s Cutting Edge, and Old Man Franks, where her fiancéeworked as a security officer. She has also used the proceeds to fund two scholarships for medical and paramedics for Polk State College.
In January, Melanie plans on hosting a large barbecue dinner for local law enforcement. In addition, she has delivered homemade dinners to fire departments throughout the county on the first Friday of every month.
She originally had a fundraiser planned at Balmoral Resort Florida in Haines City, but the event was canceled at the last minute. Her friend, Bobby Jean, who owns Slates, heard about her predicament and allowed her to host an event there.
“It is my first pool tournament, and I hope it turns out great,” she said. “I am hoping for a great turnout.”
Having started her organization and fundraising efforts earlier this year, she is proud of her progress since then. She could not do what she has done without the help of the community, she said.
“The whole community has come to support me throughout all of this, they help me, and they have been by my side, they reach out to me, and the overall help show me what the community is about,” she said. “I want people to keep helping me and helping me put this all together because it takes us all together to pull this.”
Racks for a Heart will be hosted at noon on Sat., Sep. 18 at Slates 8 Billiards, located at 20 4th St SW, Winter Haven, FL 33880. For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/honoringculpepper