From fighting forest fires to laying carpet in day care centers, takes a look at what 5 small businesses that got stimulus-funded contracts are doing with taxpayers’ dollars.

This Oregon fire-prevention company won stimulus-funded contracts totaling more than $700,000 to “lop and scatter” the branches in two densely populated forests. Thinning a forest slows the burning when a forest fire starts, giving rescue teams more time to contain the fire before it spreads to residential areas.

The contracts PatRick Environmental won allowed the family-run business to hire two new full-time employees and bring 20 “call when needed” employees on for six months of paid work that they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten.

Paul Solarz, the operations manager for the company, also appreciates the training benefits the additional work brought.

“We hired a few new people, but the people that we had might have been just a little experienced in the use of a chain saw — and now they are very experienced,” Solarz says.

Photo by PatRick Environmental.

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