Written By: Steve Kutilek
Mike Kutilek was an intelligent, kind, and outgoing young man who was raised in Omaha with three brothers and attended Christ the King, Creighton Prep, and graduated from UNL with a promising career ahead of him. He was an entrepreneur from a very young age with lawn mowing and snow removal jobs from grade school through college. Mike held a number of jobs for large companies, but he was always creating his own businesses on the side. The ups and down that come with adolescence, and starting businesses seemed normal to his family. But in Mike’s mid-twenties he began to experience some mild depression and anxiety and tried to get relief from doctors and psychiatrists, but nothing was really helping.
In Mike’s late twenties the symptoms became more prevalent, and his mental illness became a crisis at the beginning of 2020. He was hospitalized a couple of times and worked with very good psychiatrists and therapists, but his condition continued to get worse and eventually took his own life in May of 2020 at age 29.
The Kutilek family experienced the hardships of dealing with mental illness for a loved one, along with the frustrations with the lack of mental health resources and awareness in the Omaha community. We were determined to identify an organization that can provide resources and help to individuals and families in the early stages of mental illness – versus trying to deal with it after it becomes a crisis. In our attempt to help others in our community, the family is organizing an event in Mike’s honor that raises awareness and resources to help support Community Alliance, a local mental health organization that is having a significant impact in our community by providing many types of resources that help individuals and families deal with mental health issues in the initial stages.
Throughout his life, Mike enjoyed a number of outdoor activities, but he especially loved biking. He learned to ride a bike very early at age 3, and it just kept growing into long bike rides with friends on trails like the Wabash Trace. Mike especially loved the popular Wabash Trace “Taco Ride” on Thursday nights with friends and family.
“Bike with Mike” will take place rain or shine mid-morning Saturday, June 5th and follow the Wabash Trace path from Lewis Central Jr High in Council Bluffs to Tobey Jack’s restaurant & outdoor patio in Mineola, Iowa where food, drinks, and a brief program will be provided to all event participants. All proceeds from this event will help fund the integrated outpatient clinic at Omaha’s Community Alliance organization.
This event will be open to anyone, and participants can bike all or part of the trail, or even walk a portion of the trail. All COVID-19 precautions will be followed. The event will be advertised via Facebook, websites, flyers, mailers, and posters. To register, donate, or become a sponsor for this event, please visit: https://www.bikewithmike2021.com/.