Libby Mayor Loses Eye After Accident

By Beacon Staff

LIBBY (AP) – The mayor of Libby is recovering from the loss of his right eye.

Tony Berget underwent surgery to remove the eye after it was injured in an accident last weekend as he worked in northwestern Montana’s Yaak Valley. Berget, owner of Tony’s Pump Service, was trying to remove a defective pump from the bottom of a well on Nov. 17 when a rope snapped “and came back and hit him full force in the eye,” his wife, Deanna, said Saturday.

After initial medical attention in Libby, Berget was taken to Kalispell, where an ophthalmologist removed the eye in a 2½-hour operation that ended at about 1:30 a.m. last Sunday.

Mrs. Berget said her husband had uncorrected vision in both the left eye, which was not injured, and the right. The accident broke some bones around the socket of the damaged eye and cut the eyelid, she said.

Berget, who turned 44 on Friday and has been the mayor since 1997, is recovering at home.

“He’s doing really well,” although pain has persisted, Mrs. Berget said. “He’s up and about and trying to figure out how to navigate with one eye.”

She said Berget expects to gradually resume his mayoral work and some other activities, beginning next week. A consultation about a prosthetic eye will take place this winter, she said.

Berget grew up in Libby and lived Seattle and Brazil for a time, before returning to his hometown.

Mrs. Berget said her husband’s perspective in the wake of his accident is upbeat.

“His attitude is, ‘I’m still here. I’m still with my family, and that’s what’s important,'” she said. “You deal with what life gives you, and you go on.”