Years of hard work were finally paying off.
Richard Mauch had slowly built his skills as a diesel mechanic, landing jobs in corporate roles and honing his abilities to fix big engines and work on trailers. He eventually opened up his own business, Indy Road Rescue, and the endeavor had become so successful that Mauch left the corporate world for good in February to operate the small business full time.
Just months later, that dream was taken out from under him when his truck was stolen.
“The truck was in rough condition, and the insurance company didn’t cover half of what it needed to fix it. And I didn’t get the tools back; those are all gone,” he said.
The loss of specialty tools, which cost thousands of dollars and had been accumulated over more than a decade, crippled Indy Road Rescue. Though Mauch was able to recover his truck, it had been trashed. He has devoted most of his resources to restoring it, but without the tools that he needs to work, his business is dead.
He had been ready to give up and start looking for another job. But the people around him have tried to make a small effort to help him. A GoFundMe account was established to raise money to replace some of the lost tools.
“He’s the hardest working man that I know, besides my father. He’s a great father and making a great example for his kids. That means a lot,” said Richard’s sister Katelyn Mauch, who set up the GoFundMe.
A fascination turns into a career
As he tells it, Mauch has been “turning wrenches” since he was a child.
“When I was 10, I’d be playing around with them in the backyard,” he said.
That fascination with all things mechanical led him to start working as a diesel technician when he was 17 years old. He worked his way through various jobs with other companies, being recognized for his work ethic and talent to become a diesel mechanic. The work helped support him and his family — his wife Heather and children Skyler, Preston and Journey.
Through his time as a diesel mechanic, he had the opportunity to train apprentices. He tried to pass on not only the technical skill of the job, but also the work ethic and determination it required to be successful.
Many of those apprentices went on to start their own businesses, Mauch said. An idea formed in his head.
“It was time for me to do something different, but I don’t know anything different than turning wrenches,” he said. “I’d watched a lot of my apprentices that I coached and taught through starting their own businesses, watching them succeed just drove me to finally do it myself.”
In 2018, Mauch took the plunge. He formed Indy Road Rescue, a company in which he could travel around the area to do repairs, maintenance and other work from his truck.
The foundation of the business was the tools that he had bought on his own over the years. Working on diesel engines and other components requires special equipment, and though it had taken time, Mauch had built up his own stock. He had items such as a cordless impact wrench, electrical diagnostic platform, commercial driveline service kit, and a slack adjuster service kit — all of which cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
Mauch continued to work in the corporate mechanic world while he built a reputation through Indy Road Rescue. By early 2022, he felt he was ready to go on his own. The move immediately started paying dividends — he acquired contracts to do Department of Transportation inspections for two separate companies, examining all of their semi trucks and trailers.
“That was a game changer. That was going to change it all,” he said. “And it was leading to other jobs for me to do, as well. Business was picking up. That was it.”
A heartbreaking loss for his new job
Mauch was excited about the opportunities. All of it came crashing down on April 22, however. That night, someone stole his truck from the apartment complex where he lived. Not only was the vehicle his mode of transportation to potential jobs, but all of the specialty tools he needed to work were inside it.
The loss was devastating.
“When that happened, I had to give one of my apprentices that I had trained those contracts. I’m glad it went to one of them, but it was heartbreaking because I had worked to get those,” he said.
On April 25, the truck was recovered in the middle of a road in Indianapolis. The vehicle had been spray painted, the ignition was ripped out, and the radio, rearview mirror and third brake light stolen.
All of the tools, save for an air compressor, had been taken as well.
Since the truck was recovered, Mauch has navigated insurance and tried to put his truck together as best as possible. He has used insurance money to try to fix what had been stolen and replaced the broken utility bed with a flatbed that he tracked down in Illinois.
“It’s frustrating. I’ve come really close to saying heck with it and going back into a shop. But then, I don’t have tools to go back into a shop,” he said.
To try and help, Katelyn Mauch was motivated to start the crowdfunding page on May 6. He’s been an inspiration to her and has worked hard to overcome obstacles in his way in the past. This is something he can’t overcome on his own, she said.
“Rick, he never complains about anything, none of his life situations. He takes everything in stride, adapts and overcomes when challenges arise. To me, it’s very heroic,” Katelyn Mauch said.
As of Friday afternoon, the GoFundMe campaign had raised $780 of the $5,000 goal. For Richard Mauch, it’s been overwhelming to see people step up for him, even as so many are struggling themselves.
“The people who have stepped forward through all of this, who communicate with me on a daily basis, who have come out of the woodwork, you learn who your friends and family really are,” he said. “I didn’t realize it before, and it’s something I’ve learned through this.”
How to help
A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help Richard Mauch rebuild his business following the theft of his truck and tools.
To contribute, go to gofund.me/1c3a186e.