Lt. Lloyd Burton, Jr. Service Award recalls decades of community service
Deloris McMillon, who served Osceola County for decades as an educator and civic leader, was recognized as the Lt. Lloyd Burton, Jr. Service Award winner by Osceola County Commissioners on Monday.
For nearly 40 years, McMillon was a central part of the Osceola County education system – harkening back to the days when schools were segregated. She currently serves as president of the local chapter of the NAACP, where she continues to advocate for equal rights and education and has been honored with a lifetime achievement award.
“Ms. McMillon’s leadership in our community span a tumultuous period of social change and through it all she has been a pillar of strength, wisdom and integrity,” said Commission Chairman Brandon Arrington. “Her contributions are not only fundamental to Osceola County, they are also inspirational to those who have followed in her footsteps to insure education and social justice for all.”
McMillon moved to Kissimmee in 1966 after marrying her college sweetheart, the late Samuel Lawrence McMillon, Jr. With the only all-black school, Kissimmee High School fully staffed, she worked at Carver Junior High School in Orlando until 1969, when integration was mandated in Florida. Making an immediate impression, the veteran educator integrated into the St. Cloud High School faculty in 1969, helping pave the way for integration of black educators into the Osceola County School System.
At St. Cloud High School, McMillon was a teacher, curriculum coordinator and a coach of the first girls’ basketball team, leading them to No. 6 state ranking. After receiving her master’s degree from Rollins College in 1989, she was promoted to assistant principal at Osceola High School, and later to Principal of Parkway Middle School.
She is one of the founders of Osceola Visionaries, Inc., which hosts an annual banquet honoring a local resident in the memory of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. McMillon has been an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for nearly 60 years and has been a faithful member of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Kissimmee for 55 years.
Her past and present civic involvements include the Valencia Community College Board of Trustees, Osceola County League of Women Voters, Osceola County Fire and Rescue Advisory Board, Boys and Girls Club Advisory Board, and the Osceola County Affirmative Action Committee.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Burton family, which been represented at every awards ceremony, participated by phone. Monday, his daughter, Benita, and grandson, Demetrius McCray, helped celebrate Burton’s memory and congratulate McMillon.
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.
Past honorees include:
2016: Lloyd Burton Jr.
2017: Anna Pinellas
2018: Eugenia Agard
2019: Nelson Winbush
2020: Belinda Johnson-Cornett
2021: Deloris McMillon