Winder is a long-time gem for LC-M school district

Published 11:14 am Thursday, April 15, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

LITTLE CYPRESS – For years and years working in the Maintenance Department for Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISD, Benny Winder has been a “gem” to all of those that he has worked with.

He’s not one to “toot his own horn”, but Winder has been so supportive of his alma mater, not only as an employee, but as a huge fan as well.

Since the LC-M softball program has started, it’s been Benny in the dugout, keeping the official scorebook and keeping the players “in line.”

He also is a key component in making sure all of the schools in the district stay in line in working with his fellow maintenance employees to keep the district up and running.

The maintenance department has definitely been a busy team, especially with recent hurricanes and the winter storm that we had that came through the area in February which added to the obstacles of a pandemic as well.

“There is no doubt about it, Benny Winder is a gem and has always been one of the most caring employees we have within our district,” said Little Cypress-Mauriceville Superintendent Stacey Brister. “He has always went out of his way to take care of others and always has that gleaming smile on his face.”

Winder always stays right on course and he doesn’t care about being in the limelight or taking credit for all that he means to LC-MCISD.

“He’s so dedicated in what he does and is so dedicated to our cause for the kids, whether it comes from the maintenance department or in sports,” said Brister. “He loves watching our kids do great things but most of all he loves Lady Bear softball and keeping stats, he’s seen some great games over the years for sure.”

Winder has turned into Santa Claus the last few years and kids and organizations have benefitted from his cheery glee.

Paula Goforth, who runs her own photography business, has been on a slew of photo shoots with Winder playing Santa and cherishes every moment of those sessions.

“Benny and I know each other from church,” said Goforth, who moved to the Fort Worth area last May but continues to come back to the Orange area to serve clients. “Benny is just a super sweet person and loves kids.”

Goforth has worked with Winder for some time now and they have become a perfect team that puts a lot of smiles on not only the kids’ faces but the parents as well.

“Benny has been doing Santa for me for about seven years,” said Goforth. “He even looks like Santa with his white beard. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect Santa.”

Winder brings plenty of charm to the shoots.

“The Santa sessions are always a huge hit and sell out because everyone loves Benny,” said Goforth. “Kids look forward to seeing him every year. We work really well together. Benny just follows my lead from kid to kid on what to do.”

Even the challenges are fun for Winder.

“We get a mix of reactions from kids crying, to hugging him, pulling his beard, and fist bumps,” said Goforth. “Benny just loves it though. He plays the role of Santa really well.”

“That’s such a wonderful thing he has done over the last several years, he’s the perfect Santa,” said Brister. “He starts working on that amazing beard of his usually at the start of the school year and by the time the holidays get here, he is a full-blown version of Santa. He has perfected it. We love it when he makes his visit to our offices each year and he goes to the elementary schools in our district and he goes to churches and takes photo shoots with kids. He just loves that and eats it up. He makes us all so proud.”

Brister also mentioned one other thing.

“Benny just purchased a new truck recently and it’s a pretty red,” said Brister. “Now Santa has a great looking red truck to get around and do his business instead of just a sleigh.”

Long-time LC-M softball head coach Dena Adkins, in her 15th year at LC-M, said that LC-M softball wouldn’t be the same without Winder toting the scorebook, helping out in the pressbox and helping get the field ready all of these years.

“Benny is such a fixture in our program and I have been here almost 15 years, but he has been here since it all started,” said Adkins. “He says he has been blessed to be able to do what he does over all of these years. That may be true, but I think the kids over all of these years are more blessed to have him here. He is such a fixture in our dugout for years and when he isn’t around or we are in a tournament, we feel his absence. He is always the first one looking for scores and asking us, ‘How did ya’ll do, how did ya’ll do.’”

Winder is a cheerleader at times in the dugout but he usually tends to do it in a quieter demeanor.

“He keeps the girls upbeat and keeps them encouraged,” said Adkins. “If he sees one of them down, he’s always there to try and lift them up.”

Winder is not one that likes to soak in a lot of recognition, he just loves what he does.

“We’ve recognized Benny on a few occasions but he’s not in to that kind of stuff,” said Adkins. “He doesn’t do anything for recognition. He is the type of person that would do anything for anybody in a blink of an eye though. He loves what he does and he has treated our teams over the years like they were his own girls. Benny Winder is just a big, caring “Bear” of a man that we all truly adore.”