Perfect attendance is what every Rotarian worldwide aspires to achieve; but multi-years of weekly, perfect attendance, even for the best of Rotarians, is difficult to attain. Rotarians that complete perfect attendance for a period of over ten, 20, or 30+ years are rare — and certainly to be admired and praised. Often it seems the more years of perfect attendance achieved results in a progressively fewer number of people that can claim it.
However, the Rotary Club of Roseville (in Roseville, California), counts among its membership not one, but two, people who have completed 60 years of perfect attendance in the same Club! This is an achievement unmatched in Rotary International’s 100+ year history – and unmatched by 32,000 clubs worldwide and 1.2 million Rotary members.
Boyhood friends since elementary school, Fiddyment and Piches are now nominated together for the Senior Volunteer of the Year Award, because their achievements in our community carry exponentially more impact because they have given of their time and money for over 60 years – and have inspired each other to keep volunteering and keep giving each and every week.
Fiddyment, a well-known member of a respected, regional farming family, (now growing and distributing pistachios), said he never set out to achieve perfect attendance when he joined the club in 1947.
“I’ll admit, it was almost an obligation to begin with, because I felt we – the farmers – needed to have a relationship with the business community in Roseville,” he said. “I don’t know if that was a smart thought, but it was my thought.”
But shortly after missing his first meeting, a fellow Rotary Club of Roseville member who owned an auto dealership in town, took him aside and set him straight regarding the importance of regular attendance to Rotary meetings.
Since that time, Fiddyment has either attended the meetings of his home club, the Rotary Club of Roseville, or made up meetings at other clubs throughout the world (including Nepal), earning him 61+ years of perfect attendance this year.
Even as a newlywed to wife Dolly 59 years ago, his honeymoon vacation didn’t deter him from keeping his attendance streak solid. “When we were traveling on our honeymoon, we were headed to Sun Valley, and when we came up on Salt Lake City, I saw a sign for the local Rotary club that was meeting that day,” he said. “I found out where the meeting was, and attended. It turned out Edward R. Murrow was the speaker. I don’t think he was as famous then as he became, but it was still interesting.”
Piches also attended his first meeting and joined the Rotary Club of Roseville in 1947. In the years since, he’s also earned a record of more than 60 years of perfect attendance.
“I remember when I first joined, thinking, ‘Holy cow! I’m a Rotarian!'” he said.
In the early days, he would sometimes travel to the Lincoln Rotary Club to make up meetings he missed with his home club. One day while attending the Lincoln club, members honored former Judge Ed Gray for 25 years of perfect attendance.
“I knew the judge, and he told me that very day, ‘Don’t ever miss a meeting. If you do, you miss a lot of fun,” Piches said. “And he was right.”
But keeping his perfect attendance wasn’t always easy. Sometimes his work required him to travel, meaning he needed to seek out other clubs to attend Rotary meetings. Piches has attended Rotary meetings in Switzerland, England, Greece and more.
Now the two men keep each other motivated not to miss a meeting – proud of the fact that they share this unique bond of friendship, fellowship and service to their community through Rotary. Fiddyment and Piches vow not to break their perfect attendance record in their lifetime.
Fiddyment joked, “At this point I think, one of us would rather die first than miss a meeting!”
In addition to their weekly commitment to the Rotary Club of Roseville (for which each has been a past President and Fiddyment is still a Board member), Fiddyment is also a long-time supporter of the Sacramento Arts community, spending hundreds of hours and dollars supporting the Sacramento Philharmonic and other music organizations. He is also active in the Roseville Historical Society and various farming and Roseville community organizations. Piches is a leader in the local VFW, Roseville Historical Society (also a Board Member), Roseville Parks and Recreation, and others.
Describe Nominee’s Impact:
Because of both Fiddyment’s and Piches’ generosity of both time and resources, the Rotary Club of Roseville has been able to implement the “Miles of Smiles” program (providing free dental care for all of Roseville’s second and fifth graders).
Benefiting older students, John Piches is directly responsible for starting and organizing the annual Oakmont Girls Basketball tournament, with both Piches and Fiddyment volunteering time and resources. Fiddyment and Piches have also donated time and resources to the Rotary Club of Roseville’s three “Interact” student service organizations at Oakmont, Roseville and Adelante High Schools, providing both funding and volunteer support efforts for food and toy drives, small business development, and other projects. They have also judged and supported the Rotary’s annual Speech Contest for high school students. They have also helped to raise funds and distribute dictionaries and school books to all K-12 schools throughout Roseville, supporting Scouting and group student service efforts, and funding and developing Adelante High Schools’ very first on-site, school library.
Both men have supported and volunteered their time during the Rotary Club of Roseville’s annual Winter and Spring Holiday parties benefiting the “HomeStart Program” for homeless families (providing gifts, Santa and Mrs. Claus or the Easter Bunny, food, arts and crafts, games and activities for homeless children, and important staples and materials for the adults’ home).
In addition to the many regional programs that these two men support and run, they have also donated to support scholarships and educational materials for a girls’ orphanage in India.
Additionally, they are now involved in the Club’s fundraising effort to support Karatu Trauma & Diagnostic Center., and are in the midst of purchasing a fire truck for the town of El Rosario, Mexico.
They have also hosted and provided professional services and consultation to young professionals to come from other countries and tour/study in America, as well as hosted foreign exchange students in the past. Both men have raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rotary International’s “Polio Plus” program. And they have raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase wheelchairs for the disabled in Latin American countries.
The two men have been instrumental in establishing and supporting the Rotary Club of Roseville’s “Teacher of the Month,” “Police Person of the Year” and “Fire Person of the Year.”
Both men were responsible for establishing, and then supporting the distribution of charitable gifts as a result of the Rotary Club of Roseville’s Club Foundation.
Piches plans and implements the Club’s (and Roseville Community’s) annual Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day events.
And they have also through the years volunteered and/or provided the funding support for:
Regional Cub Scout & Boy Scout Troops
Youth programs run by local law enforcement that address early intervention for troubled youth
Scholarships for seniors in all Roseville high schools
Leadership training for high school juniors to develop future community leaders
Tree planting at local schools to provide shade and better environments
Outings to professional sports events to promote achievement among school children
Promotion of quality athletic programs for young women through an annual basketball tournament
Recognition of outstanding teachers in local public and private schools throughout the year
D.A.R.E. program in Roseville Elementary schools
Pediatric unit and Children’s Immunization Program at Roseville Hospital
Annual Fundraising Golf Tournament.
Toiletry Drives for the Homeless and food basket filling and distribution during the holidays
“CanDo” Drive –aluminum cans & cash donations help those in need around Thanksgiving.
Holiday meals for elderly and homeless at local churches and social service agencies
Holiday gift stockings for local convalescent hospitals
Warm jackets and clothing for children in primary grades
Recognition of community volunteers who have contributed to a better community life
Finally, both David Fiddyment and John Piches were key leaders in the recruitment of the Rotary Club of Roseville’s first female member, and were leaders in the effort to allow female members within Rotary International.
Without David Fiddyment and John Piches, Roseville wouldn’t have a Veteran’s Memorial Park (or other parks), a formalized and effective donation and gifts program, a Roseville Historical Society, an organized VFW, Placer or Sacramento County music and arts programs, or female members within the Rotary Club of Roseville.
Their impact has been limitless and the amount of good they have done for this community is exponentially better because they have done it together, as friends and Rotary colleagues, for over 60 years (without missing a week!).
New or Additional Volunteer Efforts this Year:
This year, the men were instrumental developing By-Laws for the Rotary Club of Roseville’s Foundation Board of Directors, were members of that Board, supported the professional and student exchange programs, and gave special/extra donations to the Rotary Club of Roseville and Rotary International’s Polio Plus program, to celebrate their 60 years of perfect attendance.