Mayor loses sight in eye after fall

Robert Chatfield
Robert Chatfield

PROSPECT — Mayor Robert Chatfield suffered series injuries from a fall in February. However, the longtime mayor said last week the injuries won’t deter him from his duties.

Chatfield called a press conference Feb. 26 to discuss the situation.

Chatfield, 71, said he was in the men’s room at Town Hall Feb. 19 when he was struck by a dizzy spell and fainted. He broke two ribs and injured his right eye from the fall. As a result of the accident, Chatfield has lost sight in his right eye and is wearing an eye patch.

Chatfield said he will continue to wear the patch while his eye heals as best it can. He said doctors couldn’t determine why he passed out.

“It was an unfortunate accident,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield said he waited to release details of his injuries publicly until he had spoken with town and Region 16 officials.

“I wanted to sit and have a talk with my Prospect family. My blood family is all fully aware of what is going on, but I think it is very prudent to tell the people I work for what happened,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield, who was elected to his 19th term in office in 2013, is not letting his injuries prevent him from continuing to serve Prospect. On the Monday following the accident, Chatfield said, he was at the Town Hall at 5 a.m. as he typically is each day.

Town Council Chairman Thomas Galvin said Chatfield is tough and won’t miss a beat.

“He’s always been one to push himself, and while he’s clearly not indestructible, I know he still has a clear vision of Prospect’s future,” Galvin said.

The accident will result in Chatfield taking on a different role with the Volunteer Fire Department of Prospect, though.

Chatfield has served as the department’s day commander for the past eight years. He planned to sit down with Fire Chief Jason Kolodziej to discuss his role with the department moving forward.

“I will continue on with the fire department, but my role is going to change slightly,” Chatfield said.

The accident has given Chatfield a different perspective after many years with the fire department.

“In my past 50 years in the fire department I have patched up thousands of Prospect residents’ and commuters’ eyes, and I now have a new understanding about people who have various types of disabling eye disease. It more or less hit home,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield said people have been very supportive of him after the accident, and he extended his gratitude for all the cards, gifts and support.

Chatfield urged residents to wear safety glasses while doing yard work to help protect their eyes.

“If I had a wish I’d wish that everybody would wear safety glasses when they are out working around their yard or at their job,” Chatfield said.