Kaleva Lions Kuttilla and Makinen receive highest honor

Ken Kuttilla (left) and John Makinen (right), members of the Kaleva Lions Club, recently received Lions International’s Melvin Jones Fellowship Award from Tim Anderson (center), Lions International vice district governor. (Courtesy Photo)

KALEVA — Two long-time members of the Kaleva Lions Club — Ken Kuttilla and John Makinen — have been honored with the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award.

The award is the Lions’ highest form of recognition that embodies humanitarian ideas consistent with the nature and purpose of Lionism.

It is presented to those who have given exemplary service to the club and the community it serves and is named for the founder of Lions International, Melvin Jones.

The local awards were presented by Tim Anderson, vice district governor of Lions International.

Kuttilla was raised in Kaleva and graduated from Brethren High School in 1954. He moved to Detroit the next year and entered a carpenter apprentice program, becoming a master carpenter four years later.

He and his wife were marred in 1959 and built a home in Livonia where they raised three children. Today they have nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

In 1999 he built another home — in Kaleva — which he and his wife made their retirement home. Since then he has been active at Bethany Lutheran Church and he is currently in his second term as Maple Grove Township trustee.

Kuttilla has donated his time to help with the establishment of the Kaleva Railroad Depot Museum and the Kaleva Library. He’s been a member of the Kaleva Lions since 1998 and has received a Lion of the Year Award and served as King Lion twice, treasurer for many years as well as a member of the club’s board of directors. He is a member of pasties crew as the baker and for the pancake breakfast he washes dishes, orders supplies and sells pasties. He has also helped the club by building ramps in the snow, selling raffle tickets and running the club’s silent auctions.

Makinen was born in Detroit in 1936 and the family moved to Kaleva in 1946, where his father farmed and worked as an electrician. John was also a member of the Kaleva High School class of 1954 and after graduating he moved to Detroit and became a draftsman for the Chrysler Corporation and he went on to earn an engineering degree from Wayne State University. He also worked for General Motors as a body engineer, retiring in 1991, and for three years after that worked for the automotive component company Mascotec.

Makinen moved to Manistee in 1996 and besides being very active as a member of the Lions Club he’s been the president of the Bear Creek Watershed Council and a member of the Maple Grove Planning Commission, Spirit of the Woods Conservation Club, the Arcadia Club and the Big Bear Sportsman Club.

Ken Kuttilla (left) and John Makinen of the Kaleva Lions Club were recently honored as recipients of Lions International’s Melvin Jones Fellowship Award. Here’ they’re seen making pasties, which the club sells, with 9&10 News reporter Alex Jokich. (Courtesy Photo)

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