Oelwein man recovering after found unconscious in below freezing temperatures

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OELWEIN, Iowa – An Oelwein man is alive tonight, after he somehow managed to survive well-below freezing temperatures as his body lay for hours.

42-year-old T.J. Ricchio loves to play his guitar, but for now, the music has stopped.

Nearly two weeks ago, on January 30th, we reported it was so cold that wind chills felt like it was below 60 degrees outside.

That’s the day T.J. ended up knocked unconscious on his front porch. T.J. is now thanking the neighbor who found him and called 911.

Neighbor Brian Rorich says, “I seen his feet toes down on the porch. I had to take a double look and back through the back window, and make sure that’s what I saw. I hit the brakes and backed up and that’s how I found him.”

T.J. today saying, “Thank you man. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be in a vase.”

Doctors and family believe he was outside for around three hours, before he was found.

The Oelwein community has sent cards of encouragement to the guitarist. T.J. has a long road ahead, four to six months, and possible amputations.

But he’s not giving up on one day playing guitar again.

T.J. fell and hit his head pretty hard a few weeks ago. Doctors believe he suffered a minor concussion, but didn’t get it looked at. That may be why he fell unconscious on the porch.

If you would like to donate to help T.J., you can give money under his name at any Community Bank. His family is also planning a benefit fundraiser for him. They are looking for a band to play in the benefit. If you would like to play, reach out to Anthony Ricchio on Facebook!





Amanda Gilbert

Amanda Gilbert

Multimedia Journalist
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