Culpepper Cardiac Foundation Delivers Food to Station 19 in Wahneta
by James Coulter
The firefighters at Station 19 in Wahneta received a welcome food donation from a local non-profit organization during its monthly delivery.
Melanie Brown Culpepper and other volunteers from the Culpepper Cardiac Foundation delivered several food items to the fire department, including homemade cookies, brownies, yeast rolls, sports drinks, cubed steak, and a gallon of ice cream.
Captain Joey Harrison greatly appreciated the delivery. Their station does not usually receive many donations from residents, so receiving a free meal was a welcome surprise, he said.
“Here at our station, we don’t get a whole lot,” he said. “Some of our [other] stations are next to Publix, and they get stuff quite a bit. For us, we like it. We enjoy it. We don’t normally have people send things to us.”
Captain Harrison has been working at the station for 18 years. As someone who likes to get up and do things rather than sit behind a desk all day, he loves his job, and he especially loves having his hard work recognized through kind gestures such asthis delivery.
“I enjoy my job. It is a good job,” he said. “It has been beneficial in a lot of ways, especially with the economy. We always get busier and work longer, which is good. This is one of the only jobs I can stay at for 18 years…so this job fit me real good.”
Jessica Ray, an engineer and paramedic, has been working with the county for seven years. This is the first time in a long time that someone has delivered a donation for them. Small gestures such as this show how much they are appreciated, she said.
“We sometimes get forgotten out here,” she said. “This is the first time we ever had anyone come out and donate anything to us. It means a lot for us to be appreciated.”
For the past year, Melanie Brown Culpepper and her organization have been making food deliveries to fire stations across the county on the first Friday of every month. So far, she has delivered donations to stations in Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Haines City, and Bartow. She plans on hosting a major event in January to provide food to all firefighters and EMS workers.
She learned about Station 19 in Wahneta after meeting Captain Harrison at a benefit golf tournament last month that she helped supply food through Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation and where she worked one of the holes supported by Jack Daniel’s (whom she also works for). She hopes to be able to make deliveries to each fire station in the county.
“I will land every one of them,” Melanie said.
Melanie started her organization, Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation, in honor of her late fiancée, who passed away following a cardiac arrest, despite the best efforts of the paramedics who attended to him on that fateful day.
For the past year, she has hosted various fundraisers to raise proceeds for defibrillators to be installed throughout Winter Haven. So far, three have been installed at her own hair salon, Melanie’s Cutting Edge, at Old Man Frank’s, where her late fiancée worked as a security officer, and at Winter Haven Boxing.