County honors Winbush: Lt. Lloyd Burton Jr. Award spotlights public service

Nelson Winbush, center, recently received the Lt. Lloyd Burton Jr. Award at a recent Osceola County Commission meeting.

For 30 years Nelson Winbush was a central part of the Osceola County education system – so much so that when he received an award related to Black History Month at a County Commission meeting last month, many of those in the audience fondly remembered the teacher, coach and administrator from their high school days decades ago.

“Mr. Winbush always has been involved in the community, especially when there is an event that focuses on our youth,” said Commission Chairwoman Cheryl Grieb, who was once one of his students. “I’ve seen him at playground builds and he has always been a huge supporter of Osceola High football. While he was a quiet supporter, he was always around to help. So it is an honor to recognize him with this community service award for his dedication to the people of Osceola County.”

Winbush, now 90, came to Osceola County in 1955 to teach at the segregated Kissimmee High School, which was the only county public school for blacks at the time. He paused his career to serve in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

During the commission meeting, Winbush, the recipient of the Lt. Lloyd Burton, Jr. Service Award, was given a standing ovation – evidence of his lasting impact on the children of Osceola County who are now adults, many with children of their own. A coaching highlight was coaching the 1956 Kissimmee High basketball team that went to the state quarterfinals.

Winbush taught history, and some of his teaching material came firsthand from his grandfather, Louis Nelson. As Winbush was a boy growing up in Ripley, Tenn. – just north of Memphis – he would go on buggy and horseback rides with his grandfather, who served as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. Over the years, Winbush has collected historically significant photographs and news articles about his grandfather.

The Burton family has been represented at every awards ceremony. Monday, his daughter, Marilyn, traveled from Georgia to celebrate Burton’s memory and congratulate the winner.

About Lt. Lloyd Burton, Jr.

He was the first black deputy to serve the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office when he was hired in December 1966. Burton served most of his 13 years with the office – much in the “Ranch and Grove” Division, which was a mainstay of rural Osceola in the days before the creation of Walt Disney World. The Lake Alfred native was promoted to Lieutenant in 1975 and retired in 1976. Known for his morals, ethics and values, Burton spent 30 years in law enforcement, serving and protecting the community he loved. Before he passed away, Burton founded the Black Benevolence Association, which offered aid and protection to its members and to their dependents.

The Osceola Board of County Commissioners created the Lt. Lloyd Burton, Jr. Service Award in 2016 under the leadership of Commissioner Viviana Janer as part of its celebration of Black History Month.