Following a course of acute rehabilitation at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, New Paltz Village Mayor Terry Dungan arrived at the local retirement and rehabilitation center Woodland Pond on Friday, Jan. 28, to continue receiving treatment for a mild stroke he had on Christmas Day.
Dungan, who was unable to use his right arm and leg for the first two weeks after his stroke, said he is now able to walk independently with a cane.
“Everybody’s stroke is different,” said Dungan. “Sometimes they’re fatal. Sometimes they’re not. I’m really lucky – all things considered – with how mild my stroke was. Just the fact that I can talk…there are people that lose that for good.”
While in recovery, Dungan said he has been in constant contact with Deputy Mayor Jean Galucci in order to continue having an active role in mayoral duties.
Despite having the responsibilities of a full-time job, Galucci said she will continue to manage village affairs during Dungan’s recovery, but has no intention of taking up any long-term projects until the mayor returns.
“I’m in communication with him every day,” Galucci said. “I think that his move to a new location during his recovery was a very positive one. He’s always been very motivated, and it’s easier for him being closer to us.”
Dungan said Woodland Pond was recommended to him by his physical therapist at Helen Hayes and has been an ideal facility to receive treatment. The recovery center is also located only five minutes from his home in the village.
According to Dungan, there are many important initiatives that he hopes to follow through with during the remainder of his term, including the grant-funded project to replace the village’s double-barrel sewer liner.
“The sewer system requires constant reporting to the [Department of Environmental Conservation],” he said. “If it’s not immediate, it tends to be put back. Some things are essential long term and they’ve been put back too much already.”
With mayoral elections occurring this year, Dungan said it is too early to tell if he will be able to run for the position again.
In approximately six weeks, Dungan said he should know for sure whether or not he will be among other candidates in May.
“When I finish the therapy here and have a better sense of what I’m able to do and what kind of time constraints I will be under with outpatient therapy – I’ll make a decision then,” he said. “For now, I’m moving on the assumption that I’m running.”
After he completes his treatment at Woodland Pond in the near future, Dungan said finishing out his term would be ideal.
“I would hope to return to office,” he said. “Interestingly enough, I find that it’s easier to climb stairs then to walk at a straight level. So the stairs at Village Hall will not be a problem.”