Recovering addict who thanked first responders, started toy drive dies

  • Bonnie Meibers
  • Staff Writer
4:30 p.m Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 Community News
Max Filby/ STAFF
Richard Matteoli holds up photos of himself before he finally went into recovery for heroin addiction. Matteoli thanked Fairborn first responders in July of this year for helping him survive his addiction. He led a toy drive that distributed gifts to local children two weeks ago. Matteoli died this week. STAFF

A Fairborn man who had thanked paramedics for repeatedly reviving him after overdoses and who led a holiday toy drive just two weeks ago has died.

Officials at the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office confirmed the death of Richard Matteoli, 41, on Monday, but they did not release a preliminary cause Friday.

MORE: Richard Daniel Matteoli’s obituary

Matteoli started Recovery Toy Drive to help children whose parents have died from drug overdoses. He called the children the “most innocent victims” of the opiate epidemic.

The drive received donations from notable local organizations, including the Dayton Dragons and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Toys were distributed Dec. 9.

RELATED: Fairborn man thanks first responders for reviving him after ODs

Matteoli himself overdosed on five or six occasions before he went into recovery. In July of this year, he publicly thanked first responders at the Fairborn Fire Department for saving his life.

He told first responders how he first became addicted to heroin and what his life was life on the drug.

RELATED: Recovering addict collecting toys for children whose parents died of ODs

Matteoli was a student at Ohio State University when he started drinking at fraternity parties and his life went “out of control from there,” he told this news organization in a past interview.

After getting addicted to heroin, Matteoli became homeless and lost touch with his family.

He entered recovery and sought to turn his life around.

He got married and rebuilt his relationship with his mother and son. Matteoli said that he was “more present in his (son’s) life today with him living 1,000 miles away” than he was with him living in town.

His wife, Leslie Matteoli, did not talk about how her husband died, but issued a statement:

“I loved my husband very much. He was a kind loving very giving man that dedicated his life to helping others. I will honor his memory and his legacy.”

Matteoli’s visitation will be at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Xenia, from 1 to 3 p.m. today.