By B. Scott Mohr
Talk about an eye-catcher.
Steve Catlett’s new tow truck is about as showy as they come, but his new ride is flashy for all the right reasons.
The black truck is emblazoned with a bright pink breast cancer ribbon on each side of the cab and pink flames race down the sides of the bed. A graphic on the passenger door reads, “This truck is dedicated to all the brave warriors of breast cancer.”
Catlett, who designed the graphics, has a special place in his heart for anyone who has battled breast cancer ... and for good reason.
His wife, Malinda, has been cancer-free for more than two years, but her sister, “D” (short for Dolores), died of the disease when she was 44. One of Malinda’s aunts also had breast cancer, but she survived and lived a pretty good life. And several riders in the Catletts’ motorcycle club have survived cancer.
“I am especially passionate when it comes to breast cancer; I do what I can to help,” said Mr. Catlett, who often works behind the scenes and wants no credit for the good he does. “I’m passionate about helping people in general. This truck is not about me. It’s like the emblem says, it’s for the brave warriors of breast cancer. I didn’t specify women because men also get it.”
Catlett got the truck last week, and for the past several months he had to hide the work orders on it from his wife. “I just told her not to open certain emails. She knew I was up to something; she just didn’t know what. She didn’t have a clue about the truck.
“I watched her as she saw it for the first time. It moved her; she just stared at it in dead silence. She was in awe of what I had done. I was speechless just watching her.”
“The first thing I thought was, ‘That’s a lot of pink,’ ” Malinda said. “I was pretty surprised. It’s a cool truck.”
Mr. Catlett, a Manual High School graduate who has owned Steve’s Towing since 1989, hopes the truck will put a smile on the face of someone who’s having a bad day. “If I can just make one person a day smile, then I know I have touched someone. When a breast cancer patient sees the truck they may realize that a lot of other people are facing the same issue.”
Although Malinda is cancer-free, she and Steve had a scare at her recent checkup. Doctors initially thought the cancer had returned, but they had erred in their analysis, causing the Catletts great grief before learning of the correct diagnosis. “We both broke down one night,” said Mr. Catlett.
“I don’t know what I would do without her. She is such an important part of my life. You hear people talk about their right-hand man ... well, Malinda is my right-hand woman. She works at my business every day. I don’t know how she has put up with me for 42 years.
“One Sunday when I was reading the paper and Malinda was crocheting, I realized how much I don’t want to see her chair empty. I am so proud of her. She gives back every day. She is always crocheting scarves and lap blankets, even when in a tow truck or at the Indianapolis Speedrome. She takes her crocheting bag everywhere. Whenever we go to the IU Medical Center or Eskenazi Health, she takes her scarves and blankets. She gave away 60 scarves last week. You should see the looks on those patients’ faces when Malinda gives them a scarf,” said Catlett. “Even though those people are at their worst ... they are facing their mortality ... a scarf can bring a smile to their face.”
Although the truck turned out to be a labor of love, that was no problem for Catlett. The custom exterior work on the truck was done by Dream Street Graphics. “They did a fantastic job. They were pleasant to work with,” he said.
Steve and Malinda are assisted in their business by their son and daughter-in-law, Stevie and Heather Catlett, and their grandchildren, Alison, Emilee, Brooklynn and Dennis. David Berry, Travis Matthews and Jimmy Raley are drivers. “All my employees are hard workers. I’m proud to have them all on board.”