'I'm trying to keep 'em going': Meet the man faithfully watching over Helena construction site

Megan Michelotti

If you’ve driven down 11th Avenue in Helena recently, you’ve probably seen him, and he probably put a smile on your face. 

Arthur “Art” Clifford Lewis Parent goes out five days a week for a couple of hours in his motorized wheelchair to watch the construction crews work on what is soon to be Benefis’ new specialty clinic in Helena.

“These fellas out here working know I’m trying to keep ’em going. I like to see progress,” said Parent. “I worked in construction when I was younger in Portland. I also did some plumbing and electrician work. I wanted to get a feel for everything.”

Parent grew up on a farm by Minneapolis, Minnesota. He recalls it sat atop peat and grew the most beautiful gardens.

“I could remember when bread was 5 cents,” Parent said. “My family struggled a bit for about six years after the Great Depression. Mother, father, all devout Catholics.”

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Parent is a deeply religious person. Growing up, his mom wanted to send him to join the Jesuits, but he had a “youthful wandering” and wanted to explore life a bit more.

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