Few things are more important to Joe Dihrkop than teaching children his love of football.

Few things are more important to Joe Dihrkop than teaching children his love of football.

"He's one of the guys who started the league for the kids," said Ken Miller, a football commissioner with the Canal Winchester Joint Recreation District (CWJRD).

Dihrkop was elected as the new CWJRD treasurer on Oct. 8. He said he'll have no problem stepping up to take the place of former treasurer John Norman.

"The main thing to me is concentrating on the things that need fixed," he said.

Dihrkop helped start a little league in Canal Winchester nearly 10 years ago. He said the beginnings were slow, but worth all the volunteer time and effort.

"Things don't just happen on their own," he said. "We've never had any problems getting people to step up. It helps when you really like to do it, too."

He said he's curious to see what he learns about the CWJRD from the board members as he becomes more active as treasurer in the coming months, especially as discussion ensues about the growth of the district alongside the growth of the village and school district.

"I hope it doesn't become such a big administrative animal that it's hard to manage," he said.

Dihrkop, originally from Jamestown, Ohio, moved to Canal Winchester in 1996. He said he earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Ohio Northern University, where he played left tackle on the football team. After graduating, he got a job with Defense Logistics Agency in Whitehall, working as an information technology specialist.

He said the duties of treasurer for the CWJRD will be nothing new to him, because he planned the budget at the Defense Logistics Agency for four years.

Dihrkop said he likes other sports, but none compare with football.

"I love just being around it," he said. "Outside of football, I go into hibernation."

His love for the game and that of others in the community was what started the little league in Canal Winchester. Before the league was created, he said many local children were playing for leagues outside of Canal Wincheter. He and a few others decided they would start a league.

"It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun," he added. "It was worth it."

When the league was organized, there was just one senior team (ages 11 and 12) and two junior teams (ages 9 and 10), he said, but now there are two large senior teams, five junior teams, four mini teams (ages 7 and 8) and about three instructional teams (ages 5 and 6).

"(The football program) is running on all cylinders right now," he said. "Last year was a banner year."

Miller, who said he's been with the football league for six years, said he looks to Dihrkop often for input about coaching and takes his advice to heart.

Miller said having Dihrkop as treasurer will be good for the CWJRD.

"Joe looks more to the kids' interest," Miller said. "I think Joe is going to put kids first in every decision he makes."