By Mike Heine/The Week
(Published Feb. 1, 2007, 10:38 a.m.)
Army Specialist Ray Hubbard, of Allens Grove, has never been one for the limelight, but he found himself in it again Tuesday night.
Hubbard, who lost his left leg and suffered other critical injuries in a rocket attack outside Baghdad on July 4, 2006, was a subject in Gov. Jim Doyle's State of the State address. Dressed in fatigues, he attended the address and sat in the front row of the balcony in the State Capitol Building's Assembly Chamber.
Hubbard was also one of The Janesville Gazette's 50 Who Matter subjects.
"I thought this was kind of the culmination of things," Hubbard said of his trip to Madison with his wife Sarah. "I saw the 50 Who Matter article and that was pretty big so I figured this should be the pinnacle as far as everything that's gone on for the last year.
"I'm thinking things will hopefully die down and go back to being regular."
Hubbard, who received a minute-plus standing ovation of applause and whistles when first introduced, said he was happy to be recognized by the governor. He got the invite on his cell phone when he was in Massachusetts last week training with his new assistance dog, Dace, a black lab that will help him accomplish day-to-day tasks.
"I really appreciate all the help the community is giving me," he said. "If I need to be looked at in any light, I hope it's a good one."
He even sneaked in a kiss on camera to Sarah following his introduction. She took it in stride with smiles.
"She was a good sport last night," Hubbard said.
Doyle said Hubbard is example of "tremendous service" who "isn't finished serving his country." Using the state G.I. Bill, Hubbard plans to at UW-Whitewater this fall and earn a teaching degree in high school social studies.
Hubbard got another 30 seconds of standing applause following those comments from Doyle.
Doyle mentioned Hubbard's plans at the end of his discussion about the University of Wisconsin System.
Here's what Doyle said about Hubbard:
"Now I'd like to introduce you to a very special person, someone who will benefit from this investment. Last year, while he was on duty in Iraq, a Russian-made rocket exploded just a few feet away. He was hit in the neck, right arm, torso, and lower body, suffering a stroke and losing a leg. He is a devoted husband, a father of two. Would you please join me in welcoming a member of our Wisconsin National Guard, Specialist Ray Hubbard, a Wisconsin hero.
"Ray is an example of the tremendous service and sacrifice made by our men and women serving in harm's way. What's even more remarkable is that Specialist Hubbard has decided he isn't finished serving his country. This fall, with the work all of you helped to get done, with the help of the veterans education plan you approved, he'll be a student at UW-Whitewater, on his way to becoming a teacher.
"He's married to a math teacher, too. It's a great education family.
"Specialist Hubbard, your continued service not only makes us strong, it makes us proud. On behalf of a grateful state, thank you, and good luck."