XENIA — Richard Matteoli, the man who led a number of community efforts aimed at helping those impacted by addiction, has died.
The Montgomery County Coroners Office confirmed that the death was reported Dec. 19. The cause is pending and will remain that way for the next 10 weeks as the office completes medical exams.
Matteoli, a Fairborn native, most recently led a toy drive aimed at giving Christmas gifts to local children with parents struggling with addiction. He was personally impacted by addiction but recovered nearly two years ago. Since then, he has sponsored other individuals in recovery and was working toward a career in the recovery field as of summer 2017. He made presentations to the Fairborn Fire Department during the summer to give thanks after they revived him with Narcan in 2014.
“I was a lost cause,” he said during the presentation. “My life was going to end because of heroin, that’s how bad it was. Now I am grateful for everyone here for giving me a second chance. I love every one of you.”
Within his first year of recovery, Matteoli said he attended 700 Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotic Anonymous meetings and transformed from an atheist into a member of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Xenia, where he would offer spoken messages.
He said since recovering that his day would begin at 5:30 a.m. with a prayer, scripture reading and conversation with his wife.
“No matter what path you take — whether it’s the path where you’re out there homeless and strung out, on drugs or in jail — that path is hard,” Matteoli said during the presentation. “So is the recovery path because a lot of the time, you don’t have anything material-wise and you’re making up for a lot of guilt and shame you’ve caused. Most people don’t want anything to do with you — that path is hard too.”
“But do you want a life of consequences or a life of blessings? From my experience, recovery is worth it,” he added.
Visitation is 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23 at Lighthouse Baptist Church, 2040 W. 2nd St. Services will follow beginning 3 p.m. at the same location.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.