Foundation fund

Westminster St. Augustine resident donates $100,000 for scholarships

World Golf Village resident Winston Allen, 92, has won many victories in his life, and now he’s helping others do the same.

“In a small way, I want to help law enforcement,” he said.

Allen is a former triathlete and federal law enforcement officer who donated $100,000 to create a scholarship fund for those interested in getting into law enforcement. Scholarships are offered to employees of Westminster St. Augustine or their children.

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The scholarships are $1,700 per semester for up to two semesters per person, said Tonnie Alliance, director of philanthropy at the Westminster Communities Foundation. The scholarships can be used for people who want to study criminology or those entering a law enforcement academy, she said.

The funding is for people in financial need and can be used at any college, university or law enforcement academy, she said. Westminster officials are raising funds to add to Allen’s donation to reach the $200,000 mark, which will help the scholarship continue on a permanent basis, she said.

“He’s trying to save the world, basically,” Alliance said of Allen. “What he does comes from his heart.”

Employees must have worked in the community for at least six months and be in good standing to qualify themselves or their children, Alliance said. Employees can apply now.

Wes Meltzer, director of marketing and communications, said the foundation offers other scholarships that team members can use and combine with Allen’s scholarship.

For more information on the Allen Fellowship or others, contact Alliance at 904-940-4800, ext. 5321.

In an email to The Record, Allen described himself as “extremely passionate about the critical need for highly skilled personnel in the challenging and fulfilling field of law enforcement.”

Allen and Westminster officials spoke to The Record during a recent visit to the St. Augustine community.

“All types of surveys”

Allen has worked in federal law enforcement, among other roles.

He was a special agent and Japanese linguist for the US Air Force, Office of Special Investigations; a special agent for the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Division; a special agent from the United States Defense Investigative Service, responsible for conducting background checks on government employees who were required to obtain security clearances, such as top secret access; and he was an auditor and investigator for the IRS.

A picture of Winston Allen hangs on his wall, showing him at his office in Kyushu, Japan, from his days as a Japanese special agent and linguist with the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations in the 1960s.

He dealt with cases of crimes among the military and said military bases are essentially just small towns with the same problems as the general population.

“Homicides, rapes, aggravated assault, aggravated arson, war crimes — I mean, I’ve covered every type of investigation you can investigate,” he said.

Common crimes included break and enters, assaults and sex crimes, he said. He described solving a pedophilia case with the help of Plaster of Paris: he used it to make casts of shoe prints that the suspect left in the mud. The case and his work were used as an example in classroom training, he said.

Despite the dangerous situations he encountered, he said the only time he felt in danger was once, when his family was threatened during a drug investigation. But nothing happened, he said.

“I never had to draw my gun at all,” he said.

He was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. His father was a lawyer and a judge, and he studied law.

His career started after he graduated from high school and traveled to Delaware to work for the Office of Special Investigations, he said. He chose to learn Japanese as part of his job for the military, and he and his family moved to Kyushu, Japan, and lived there for four years.

World Golf Village Ironman

Allen and his wife, Carolyn, moved to St. Augustine from Dublin, Ohio in 2004. She died in 2013.

Family photos sit alongside numerous medals and awards at Allen. He is a decorated athlete.

Allen has competed in more than 200 triathlons, and he is “a 13-time Ironman Hawaii finisher (nine podium finishes) and a former Ironman Brazil winner,” according to an email from Allen to The Record.

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In 2011, at age 81, Allen won gold for the United States in his age category at the ITU World Championships in Beijing, China. He was the oldest person in the competition and the only one in his age bracket, but managed to beat a few people in the younger divisions.

To win the medal, Allen swam nearly a mile, cycled 25 miles and ran 6 miles in just over four hours, and with full knee replacement surgery.

He retired from triathlon competitions in 2020 at age 90, he wrote.

‘Be grateful’

Allen’s daily routine is regimented, he said. He gets up early, exercises, reads the news, eats regularly and rests a lot. These are some of the keys to a long life, he said.

But he had other advice for people: Stay grateful, because “grateful people are happy people,” he said.

“(I’m) grateful for everything. Grateful to be alive. Grateful to have the life that I lived. Grateful to be an American,” Allen said.