“I refuse to accept that he's gone even though I know he is. It's a piece of me that is no longer here,” said brother, Joe Matias.
Daniel Matias' family is in a state of disbelief. They say he was just beginning a new chapter in his life when he fell ill and died from the coronavirus. Matias had been a captain with the New York City Health and Hospitals Police when he retired not long ago.
“Which is pretty unfortunate you know. He worked his butt off and he retired and then we lose him,” said Matias.
Matias retired in 2018 after more than 25 years on the job. He had spent his entire career at Woodhull Hospital and was excited about all the free time he had to travel the U.S. with his girlfriend when he got sick.
“He essentially was home and was complaining about some congestion. He had a little fever, a cough, all the symptoms we’d heard about, but he didn't go to the hospital until he had to be rushed to the hospital and from that point was the last time that we saw him,” said Matias.
Matias was born and raised in East New York. He went to Aviation High School in Long Island City Queens and lived in the same Miller Avenue Apartment where he grew up until he bought his own place in 2015. He was often a stern no non-sense guy but would always let loose with his family. Especially with his siblings. His brothers say he was extremely smart.
“He learned how to build and repair small planes. He had the ability to pick up any manual and figure out how to work anything,” his brother said.
He also was an avid stamp, coin and patch collector.
“There is this culture of law enforcement patch collectors that I was not even aware existed,” said Matias.
“We found binders and binders and binders on the coins alone we are talking about maybe 2000 pieces. On the patches alone, there's got to be another 1000 or so. Stamps are probably in the thousands,” his brother said.
Matias, who was 53, never married and didn't have children, but he always had his parents, two brothers, a nephew and two nieces. They're now working to preserve his vast collection and his memory.