GRAND RAPIDS (AP) – As the likelihood of war between the United States and Iraq increases, the number of affected Michigan businesses and organizations also grows.

Earlier this month, General Motors Corp. said it will cut second-quarter production 10.5 percent and Ford Motor Co. followed by announcing a 17 percent reduction. DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group and Toyota Motor Corp. are also expected to build fewer vehicles in North America in the April-June period, when compared with a year ago.

Last week, Rockford-based Wolverine World Wide Inc., the nation’s largest shoe manufacturer, announced that it was stepping up production of military footgear. The company, best known for its Hush Puppies line, signed a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to supply a new line of boots to the Army infantry.

David Money, who owns a Buchanan trucking company that specializes in moving military equipment, said he recently was asked to haul items from four engineering battalions spread across Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. After putting in nearly two weeks of 14 and 15-hour work days, his drivers got their loads to the proper ports for transport overseas.

Kellogg Co. spokeswoman Christine Ervin said yesterday the Battle Creek-based company has government contracts to provide cereal and convenience foods to members of the armed forces – not only for those stationed at military installations but also for those on the ground near Iraq.

“We’re trying to make sure that we get things there as quickly as possible to make sure the food reaches the troops in a timely manner,” Ervin said. She declined to provide transportation details.While Michigan reservists on the front line were getting food from Kellogg, their immediate families in the Grand Rapids area were receiving complimentary memberships to the Grand Rapids Metropolitan YMCA.

The memberships are for the spouses and children of activated reservists, spokesman Gary Wade said yesterday.

A family membership usually requires a $150 joining fee plus a $76 monthly fee. Over the course of six months, a reservist’s family would save $606.

“The memberships are good from the time of deployment through the duration of the reservist’s active duty,” Wade said.

The memberships are good at all six of the YMCA’s branches, which include three in Grand Rapids and one each in Grandville, Lowell and Ionia.

On Feb. 25, the YMCA set up a hot line that eligible families can call to request memberships. YMCA officials got the idea after two relatives of executives in the organization were called to active duty.

“These activations have had a dramatic emotional and financial strain on the families (of area reservists), so we kind of looked at ourselves and said, what can we offer these people?” he said. “We can offer a safe environment, we can offer activities such as swimming programs and soccer programs for them, as well as mentors. Because if Dad’s off in a war, we can be able to provide a support network for them.”

In Swartz Creek, the owner of a small accounting firm is offering to prepare, for free, the federal, state and local income tax returns of active military personnel.

“They kind of are giving up a lot of their lives to help protect ours,” Vicky Green, the proprietor of Horizon Business Services, told The Flint Journal last week.

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