The Liberty Gazette
January 6, 2015Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Happy New Year! Let’s start the year off right by honoring a friend and fellow Gazette columnist, Kevin Ladd. The letters and articles published here over the past two weeks certainly speak to the honorable person Kevin was, his dedication as a husband, friend, historian, writer, and Christian. We certainly echo all the sentiments expressed, and have a small something to add.
Kevin was, you could say, the man who started it all here, for us in this space. As the appointed volunteer liaison between the Liberty Airport and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, working with the Texas Department of Transportation, the FAA, and several other interested parties, beginning back in 2006 when the airport really had no noticeable support, and was even challenged by some muckity-mucks in the city, we held to our guns and attended every city council meeting, served on the airport board, and in spite of making muckity-mucks unhappy (being called "too enthusiastic" as though that was a bad thing), we kept our focus on what’s good for the Liberty Airport, being good for the city of Liberty.
At nearly every city council meeting we’d see Kevin, the one routinely bright spot in attending those meetings. He always encouraged us to never give up; he too saw the airport as an important asset to the city, here to serve us, the citizens of the area.
It was Kevin’s idea in 2007 to contact the Gazette and offer to write a weekly column, talking about what’s good about the airport and aviation in general. His valuable and trusted relationship with the Gazette, his credibility there and everywhere, was probably the reason we were even considered.
It all began with a long piece about the airport in June, 2007, followed by another long piece a week later. Kevin sent notes of encouragement, advising us to stay the course and keep writing, and the Gazette welcomed us with open arms. Kevin even furnished us with clipping and copies of articles written twenty, thirty, or more years ago about our airport’s history. Each monthly meeting he would show up with a folder for us full of tidbits he discovered. He loved to research finding that special story, sharing it with us, and then us with you.
We last saw Kevin on Thanksgiving Day. He was alert and communicative, and we thought he was heading to rehab and would be home soon. We just didn’t realize the home he was headed to shortly thereafter would be the real one.
Kevin is sorely missed by many, and we are convinced that no one but God can know the extent of his reach, the personal value to each of us from his contributions to society, and the depth to which the memories of Kevin live on in our hearts.
Kevin said he didn’t know a whole lot about airplanes, but he believed what we aimed to do was good, and he liked it when we used the phrase, "Give me a mile of highway and I can go a mile; give me a mile of runway and I can go anywhere."
To Kevin, who surely was met at the gates of Heaven with cheers and smiles and hugs, you were a blessing to us, and we will see you again, dear friend.