Gerlach ready to guide South Whidbey Parks | UPDATE

Joel Gerlach will take a seat on the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District board of commissioners.

The 45-year-old Clinton resident and coach of the South Whidbey boys soccer team led with 58 percent of the vote. He was pleasantly surprised with the results while cooking dinner at his Scatchet Head home.

"It feels good," Gerlach said. "I'm excited about being able to do it."

Gerlach touted his ability to listen to the wants and needs of the park-using community, while maintaining conservative financial practices. He garnered 1,997 votes by Tuesday night.

"I've lived here 21 years, and that to me is a big deal," Gerlach said. "It means I've made an impact in the community."

Jean R. Streitler, his opponent in the race, had 1,406 votes, about 41 percent. After seeing the initial results, he was confident in the voters' choice.

"I'm happy for Joel if he gets it, there's no doubt about that," Streitler said.

Streitler, 42, is the president of South Whidbey Youth Football League. He wanted to make the parks a safe place for South Whidbey youths. Losing the election won't change those plans.

"I'm for the kids," Streitler said.

Gerlach, who would like to be a voice for soccer on the parks board, was humbled by the victory.

"I think that either one of us would've done a great job as a commissioner of the parks," Gerlach said. "I feel really fortunate that so many people in the community know me and feel I'm worthy of doing this job."

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