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Thornton Township honors current excellence during Black History Month

Keynote speaker: Melody Winston of Golden Eagle Aviation

“Excellence is not an event, it is a lifestyle,” says Melody Winston on her LinkedIn profile. That concept made her a fitting choice to keynote this year’s Black History Month celebration in Thornton Township: “Embracing our Current History of Black Excellence.” (Photo provided)
information provided by Thornton Township

THORNTON TOWNSHIP, Ill. (February 22, 2019) – Embracing our Current History of Black Excellence was the theme of this year’s Thornton Township Black History Month event. Taking place at its Youth and Family Service Department in Riverdale, the program featured Melody Winston, vice president of Golden Eagle Aviation, a fixed base operation (FBO) that specializes in jet charters, jet maintenance, and fuel services.

Winston was actually born on the Seymour Johnson Air Force base in North Carolina where her father was a Top Gun fighter pilot. She has parlayed that early familiarity with aviation into a varied career path, creating opportunities for others along the way. In 2012, Winston and a colleague co-founded Legacy Flight Academy, an annual aviation summer camp for teens interested in aviation. The Legacy Flight Academy is located in Tuskegee, Alabama. She invites others to visit the camp website to see “more ways to give back”:

In addition to her professional involvement in the aviation industry, Winston is a seasoned commercial real estate investor. She began her career serving as a realtor with one of Chicago’s most prestigious realty companies. Her success in that arena led to more than a decade of managing commercial properties, as well as owning and operating Golden Eagle Construction Company as a licensed general contractor. She is currently executive director of Corporate Property Assets for Living Word Christian Center, where she manages the organization’s multimillion dollar portfolio of assets.

Her latest accomplishment with the Forest Park Plaza is a deal that she played a vital role in brokering to secure a new alternative independent grocery concept, named Living Fresh Market.

“She is an intelligent, innovative, entrepreneurial, game-changing influencer,” said Dr. J.L. Weems, director of the youth and family services department. “She has the motivation and energy to inspire generations young and old.”

Previous honorees

In previous years, Thornton Township has featured internationally-known civil right activist and author Dick Gregory, and last year the Township rented out two showings of Black Panther at Lansing Cinema 8. Black Panther was the highest grossing North American film in 2018.

Other highlights

This year’s entertainment included the Najwaa Dance Group, an African dance entertainment. And students from District #205 performed songs and spoken words. The event was catered by Lansing restaurant Ooo Wee Chicken & Ribs (18155 Roy Street). A five-minute video highlighted current local and national figures.

“This year we focused on the incredible people who are changing our world right now,” said Ernst Lamothe Jr., communication manager for Thornton Township. “There are so many wonderful people who are currently doing great things for our community now, we thought it was important to honor them.”

Ernst Lamothe Jr.
Ernst Lamothe Jr.
Ernst Lamothe currently serves as Communications Manager for Thornton Township and brings two decades of journalism experience to that role. "I believe it is important to educate and inform people about their world," he says.


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