Both Ted and Shirley Kubiak are veterans, having served in the Wisconsin National Guard, and Ted was in the Air Force before then.
Both are members of the American Legion Post 360. And now both are members of its Auxiliary, as well.
For the first time, the president of the American Legion Post 360 Auxiliary is a man – Ted Kubiak. Installed as president on June 18, he is not only the first male member of the Waunakee unit but the only one in the state of Wisconsin. They believe he may be only male Auxiliary Unit president in the United States.
The Kubiaks said the organization, which is open to spouses and family members of veterans, began allowing men to join in 2019.
“I think they were starting to realize that more women were in the military, and that was key,” Ted said.
Shirley retired from the Army National Guard and Reserves as a colonel after a 26-year career, and Ted retired after 22 years.
Both are committed to supporting fellow veterans.
Ted said one of Legion Auxiliary initiatives he appreciates most is the Poppy campaign. During that time, members host a stand outside of stores and give poppies to those entering. Often, they receive donations.
“It reminds people of veterans,” Ted said. “I sense that people see the poppies and they remember veterans.”
He also appreciates the Auxiliary’s support of veterans.
Ted said Shirley brought up the idea of Ted running for president.
“She said, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if you were the first male president of an Auxiliary unit in the United States or in Wisconsin?’ I said I guess that would be alright,” he said.
So Shirley nominated him, and he was elected to a one-year term.
Ted said he would like to see some changes during his presidency. First, he would like to have a Poppy Prince as well as a Poppy Princess to reflect that both men and women can be Legion Auxiliary members. He would also like to spread awareness of the Auxiliary.
“I’d like to see bumper stickers that say something to the effect of, show your pride in a family service member and join the Auxiliary or Legion. I’d like to see the membership increase,” he said.
Shirley noted that the Legion and the Auxiliary are a family.
“We’re together. With the Auxiliary, they do so much for veterans at the VA hospital, making whatever they need, lap blankets and other stuff,” she said.
Auxiliary members also help at the Legion’s Friday fish fries and at the WaunaFest booths, she added.
Ted noted that at one point, Legion membership was restricted to a certain time period, but now any service member can join whether or not they are retired.
“A lot of people were unaware that, just like that men can join the Auxiliary,” Ted added.