The Liberty Gazette
March 12, 2013Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Mike: Streaming lines of landing lights and strobes funnel in from all directions especially noticeable if you’re driving back to Liberty from Humble after dark on a Sunday, commercial air travel rush-hour, when airlines are landing to the west on any of Bush Intercontinental Airport’s three east-west runways.
Airplanes are marshaled through a system of arrivals that merge into approaches with precise procedures created for safety, efficiency, and orderliness. These "roads in the sky" have waypoints, sort of like signs except that you can only see them on certain navigation equipment in the cockpit, and all these procedures and waypoints have names, many of which reflect the locale over which they stand watch.
One such special waypoint is close to us here in Liberty. Where airplanes coming from the northwest make a turn almost due west they are at an intersection of radio frequencies emitting from transmitters on the ground. That particular intersection, which has also become a GPS satellite waypoint of the same name, is the marker that indicates where to turn for the final approach to Intercontinental’s middle runway, 26 Left, and where a descent may be made from 7,000’ to 5,000’.
Linda: Why is this waypoint so significant? Because it is named after a very important man: Dr. Haden McKay. "MKAYE Intersection" honors the man who served decades as the town doctor and mayor of the City of Humble, until he retired from politics (but not medicine) at age 87. It was on that occasion in 1995 when then Congressman Jack Fields said that Dr. McKay, more than any other single individual, was responsible for bringing about the city’s transformation from a small town with board walks and dirt streets to a modern community. An avid supporter of the airport, he understood the great benefits it would bring to his town and was instrumental in making it happen.
Dr. Haden McKay joined his father’s medical practice in Humble when he returned from serving our country in the Army Medical Corps. The elder Dr. McKay used to see patients in Dayton and Liberty and would have to traverse the sometimes swelling waters of Lake Houston via a "low water crossing". The bridge you cross today to reach Atascocita, Humble, and beyond bears his name because where he saw a need he found a way to fill it. His son likewise discovered numerous ways to help his community, which is why you travel McKay Drive to reach the hospitals in Humble.
But for a more personal glimpse, my pop-in-law remembers Dr. McKay as "one for common people." He had concern for his patients, was stern but respectful, addressing others as "Mr." or "Mrs." Even my Mamaw-in-law, his nurse for 35 years, he called "Mrs. Street." Of the 4,000 babies he delivered one very special one he ushered into the world 47 years and four days ago today was my (late) husband, Mycol Street.
Dr. McKay loved helping people, hunting and fishing, and politics, but when someone from Washington paid him three visits to convince him to serve in Congress he declined, saying he was a small town doctor and that was where he would stay. It is only fitting then that a waypoint in the sky directing those who fly the big iron that bring thousands to Humble every day carry his name. From the love for his town, through MKAYE Intersection the good doctor-mayor still guides Humble daily.