Lance Corporal Devin Paul Kugler was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. Kugler recounts that some of his favorite childhood memories include hunting and fishing with his father, despite having a tumultuous family situation. In high school, Kugler joined AF-JROTC and aspired to join the military after graduation. He and his wife, Mandie, met while both working at a grocery store and were married in September 2012, after which he had aspirations of becoming a manager at the store. In 2014, Kugler and his wife welcomed their first daughter in April 2014, who later passed away on June 5, 2014. Kugler credits the first responders he encountered after his daughter’s passing as his inspiration to become a law enforcement officer with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, where he began his career in July 2015, and eventually became a State Trooper. 

Kugler became a law enforcement officer with aspirations to change the public’s opinion of police officers, and to serve his community. He took great pride in breaking the family cycle of poverty, addiction and violence and protecting the citizens of his community from drunk drivers. For his tireless service, Kugler was named MADDY 2021 DUI Enforcer of the year and 2021 MADDY Enforcement Hero of the year, and earned the South Carolina Department of Safety Purple Heart Award. 

On October 16, 2022, Kugler was training a fellow Trooper during a DUI stop and was about to conduct a field sobriety test when he was struck by a drunk driver, crushing him between the two cars before being thrown fifty feet. Kugler suffered three brain injuries, numerous broken bones and dislocated ligaments, nerve damage and hearing loss, among several other injuries. Kugler received five surgeries on his left leg, and multiple surgeries on his arm, pelvis, knee and endured countless hours of therapy over the next nine months, with reliance on wheelchairs, walkers and canes. 

Now, Kugler enjoys grilling, woodworking, caring for his lawn, and computer gaming. Mostly though, Kugler enjoys spending time with his wife and children. He has always been an active member of the community, and is known by many as reliable and caring, always offering his assistance where needed, even becoming a foster parent alongside his wife. The Kuglers have fostered six children in the past three years and adopted two of the children. They tried to offer words of encouragement to the children’s biological parents to motivate them to make the necessary changes to gain custody of their children. Although his future feels uncertain, Kugler is grateful for his children and the blessing of watching them grow. He credits God for his survival and strength to recover, and is excited to regain some independence and peace of mind with the adaptations made to his home.