Even in defeat, Medfield resident Nikolaos "Nick"Athanasiadis was upbeat and positive when asked to look back on his campaign for selectman.
"It was an unbelievable experience and I made a lot of friends," Athanasiadis said. "I look at this as a growing experience and it has changed me in many ways."
Athanasiadis entered this year's Town Election with little to no experience in town government but wanted to get involved and bring a fresh perspective to the Board of Selectmen.
He went up against Osler "Pete" Peterson, a Medfield selectman for the past 12 years and current chairman of the board. Athanasiadis and his campaign committee made Monday's race close, but in the end lost to Peterson, 701-590. Athanasiadis showed sportsmanship in defeat, reaching out to his opponent after the announcement was made.
"I called [Peterson] to congratulate him but I couldn’t get a hold of him so I left him a message," he said.
Athanasiadis called his first experience running for town office "humbling" and thanked his supporters for all their help throughout his campaign.
"In many ways, I’m speechless by the support I got," Athanasiadis said. ... "I’m very happy that so many people believed in what I was saying. ... "I want to thank everybody that worked to help me out and I will do my best to stay visible and maybe next year we will do this again and I will need their help again. So I’m thankful for everybody’s help."
As for what the future holds for Athanasiadis, the 17-year Medfield resident said he plans to take some time to decide what he wants to do moving forward.
"As far as future plans," Athanasiadis said. At this point, I don’t think I’m going to make those kinds of choices. I’m not sure what I’m going to do but at this point I’m happy I did it and I’m happy I ran this race and it was a very good experience. I will make a decision in the next few days on what I plan to do moving forward for the next time around."
Athanasiadis came 111 votes shy of becoming a Medfield selectman in an election that saw 1,298 voters – an encouraging result for the first-year runner.
"I know members of my committee are very involved in town and they kept telling me I was going to do well but it was my first run so it was very tough to get a feel and what this all actually means," Athanasiadis said. ... "I’m grateful I did this. There were ups and downs but I’m glad I stuck with it."
Despite Monday's loss, Athanasiadis hopes his campaign benefited the town to some extent.
"I hope that this is not a learning experience just for me but for the whole town," Athanasiadis said. "I think, hopefully, this makes people more aware of some of the issues and I think being a selectman is not a rank; it is something that you have to work hard to get people to trust in you, year in and year out."
To read Osler Peterson's reaction to Monday's election, _