Vail Mourns Passing of Local Hero Rick Dilling, Legendary Tow Truck Operator

Vail, Colorado, has lost one of its most beloved and enduring figures, Rick Dilling, known to many as a tow truck operator who turned every roadside rescue into a story worth telling. Born on November 3, 1962, Rick became an integral part of the Vail community, not just for his work but for his spirit of service and camaraderie. His unexpected passing on February 19, 2024, from a heart attack has left a void in the hearts of those who knew him.

Early Life and Career

Rick's journey began in Monticello, Indiana, but his life's path took a significant turn when his family moved to Vail. His father's decision to open a service station in West Vail set the stage for Rick's future. From his high school days excelling in sports to his unwavering love for the great outdoors, Rick's passions shaped his character. His career as a tow truck operator was more than a job; it was a way to connect with and help his community, a trait that endeared him to many.

Legacy of Compassion and Humor

Rick's legacy is not just in the cars he pulled out of snowbanks or the doors he unlocked but in the warmth and laughter he brought to every situation. His sense of humor, often self-deprecating, turned mishaps into memorable stories. Whether it was comparing the aftermath of a bear's visit to his truck to the chaos a teenager could cause or teaching the next generation the joys of hunting and fishing, Rick's approach to life was always about sharing and caring. His passing has reminded the Vail community of the impact one individual can have through simple acts of kindness.

Remembering Rick

The community will come together to honor Rick Dilling's life and contributions at the Palisade Municipal Cemetery on March 9 and a memorial at Donovan Pavilion on March 28. These gatherings will not only serve as a farewell but as a celebration of a life well-lived, filled with moments of generosity, laughter, and love. Rick's story is a testament to the difference one person can make by being genuinely kind and always ready to lend a hand. His memory will continue to inspire those who knew him to carry forward his legacy of helping others.


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