Federal law enforcement and military veteran Winston Allen, 92, recently donated $100,000 to create a scholarship fund for those interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement.
Allen, a resident of the Westminster St. Augustine retirement community in Florida, is a former triathlete and special agent in the United States Army Criminal Investigations Division. “In a small way, I want to help law enforcement,” Allen said of the scholarship fund, which is available to employees of the retirement community or their children.
In an email to The St. Augustine Record, Allen said he was “extremely passionate about the critical need for highly qualified personnel in the challenging and fulfilling field of law enforcement.”
Allen worked in many law enforcement roles, including as a special agent and Japanese linguist for the United States Air Force, Office of Special Investigations; a special agent in the U.S. Defense Investigative Service, where he conducted background checks for government employees seeking security clearances, such as top-secret access; and he served as an auditor and investigator for the IRS.
During his time as a special agent, Allen worked on a variety of cases, including felonies involving military members. He lived in Japan for four years, working for the military. “Homicides, rapes, aggravated assaults, aggravated arson, war crimes — I mean, I’ve covered about every kind of investigation you can investigate,” he said.
Allen said he never had to pull his weapon throughout his entire career. Now, he runs in marathons and even won a gold medal at 81 years old in the ITU world championships.
To be eligible for the scholarship, Westminster St. Augustine employees are required to have worked at the community for at least six months and be in good standing. Employees can apply for the scholarship now.
Tonnie Alliance, director of philanthropy for the Westminster Communities Foundation, said that the scholarships offer $1,700 per semester for up to two semesters per person.
Alliance said the scholarships are for people studying criminology or for those who plan to enroll in a law enforcement academy.
“He’s trying to save the world, basically,” Alliance said. “What he’s doing is from his heart.”
The funding is intended to help those in financial need and can be used for classes at any college, university or law enforcement academy.
Westminster officials are also fundraising to add to Allen’s donation, with the goal of $200,000. Alliance said that this amount will help the scholarship continue indefinitely.
Wes Meltzer, director of marketing and communications, said the foundation offers other scholarships as well that can be combined with Allen’s scholarship to go toward law enforcement or criminal justice studies.
Allen said the key to a happy life is to stay grateful. “(I’m) grateful for everything. Grateful to be alive. Grateful to have the life that I’ve lived. Grateful to be an American,” he said.