Friends form construction company
By Sandy Bond
A dream delayed has become a reality for life-long friends and now partners James Fiddler of Glenham, and brothers Joshua Helm of Mobridge, and Jonathan Helm of rural Selby. Oahe Builders, LLC was formed in June and their first major project as subcontractors is an addition to the Hilltop Motel and RV Campgrounds located on U.S. Highway 12 and 83 in Selby. The general contractor and owner of the 24-foot by 180-foot, 12-unit motel and laundry is the Selby Development Corporation. Hase Construction is another subcontractor.
“The weather has been very cooperative,” Josh said, “with the target date being early this fall, in time for pheasant opener.”
It is being built adjacent to its twin, another 10-unit structure that has been operational since 1964.
Joshua and Jonathan, the sons of Dwight and Yvonne Helm, were raised in Java where their family farms. Their dad is employed by the Walworth County Highway Department and their mom works at Shorty’s One Stop.
Joshua, 30 graduated from Selby Area High School in 2000. He began his carpentry career as a laborer at First Dakota Enterprises in Mobridge, and become a superintendent seven years ago. He and Misti Ryckman, a personal banker at Great Western Bank in Mobridge, are engaged to be married.
Jonathan, 37, graduated from Selby Area in 1993. He is a 19-year veteran of the 200th Engineering Company of the South Dakota National Guard where he served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. He has been employed by First Dakota Enterprises since 1995. He and wife Lindsey have three daughters, Brenna, 9, Brooklyn, 4, and Briley, 3. Lindsey is a registered nurse with Mobridge Regional Hospital. She holds a master’s in nursing, is an instructor for Presentation College, and is working on her doctorate in nursing.
“I’m so proud of my wife and my family,” Jonathan said. “One of the contributing factors of becoming our own bosses is that we can be home with family more often.”
James, the son of Judy and the late Forrest Fiddler, and his brother Jack, now employed by Central Diesel, grew up in Glenham. Their dad was employed as a project superintendent for Steel Structures of Aberdeen and their mom is owner/operator of The Hair Shoppe in Mobridge. Steph Melcher and he are a couple. She is employed as a customer service representative and teller at Dacotah Bank. After graduating from Selby Area in 1999, James attended South Dakota State University in Brookings where he majored in construction management. He received his associate’s degree from Lake Area Vocational Technical Institute in Watertown with a major in building trades. He was employed by Thares Construction of Ipswich from 2005 to 2009, First Dakota Enterprises, and most recently by South Dakota Wheat Growers in Aberdeen.
With sawdust running through their veins, they agree that they love building things. They admit they’re a cohesive bunch.
“We are all well trained in every phase of construction,” James said. “When one of us might be suffering from an injury, the other two can scramble to fill that spot until that individual is feeling up to his full potential.”
The trio has built a new home for Misti and Joshua, which is located adjacent to the Mobridge Airport.
They cite Dean Fieock of Mobridge, now retired from a career as their shop teacher, as one of their favorite teachers at Selby Area Schools.
“I recall building a six-foot long dining table for my brother Jonathan,” Josh said.
“I recall building a lathe lamp for Mr. Feiock,” James said, “It is still in his home.”
“I built a gun cabinet,” James said, “which I was pretty proud of at that time…now looking back…”
With the temperature hovering at 102 degrees, they stop for a few quick gulps of water before getting right back to work.
“Time is money,” Jonathan said.