Tunnel to Towers Foundation Pays Off Mortgage and Transforms Injured State Trooper’s South Carolina Home
South Carolina State Trooper Highway Patrol Lance Corporal Devin Kugler was injured in the line of duty in 2022
In a private ribbon cutting ceremony, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation welcomes South Carolina State Trooper Highway Patrol Lance Corporal Devin Kugler and his family back into their newly renovated mortgage-free smart-home in South Carolina.
During the ceremony, keynote speaker Retired FDNY firefighter Tom O’Connor announced that Tunnel to Towers has also paid the mortgage on the Kugler family home in full.
On October 16, 2022, LCpl Kugler was about to conduct a field sobriety test when he was struck by a drunk driver. He was crushed between the two cars, and was thrown fifty feet.
LCpl Kugler suffered multiple brain injuries, numerous broken bones, nerve damage, and hearing loss among other injuries. Due to his injuries he relies on wheelchairs, walkers and canes to get around.
LCpl Kugler’s decision to become a first responder stems from a personal tragedy.
In 2014, Devin and his wife, Mandie, lost their two-month-old daughter. He credits the first responders he encountered after his daughter’s passing as his inspiration to pursue a career in law enforcement. He began his career with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety in 2015 before becoming a State Trooper.
“We no longer have to worry about setting money aside, and counting pennies to make sure our mortgage payment is made. The fear of selling our home and downsizing in a volatile economy, or moving in with family was taken off of our plate. The fear of being a burden to someone else was gone. I told my wife ‘NOW we really will be ok,’” said LCpl Kugler.
Tunnel to Towers installed a ramp up to the front door, and motorized the door to open and close automatically. New flooring throughout the first floor makes it easier for LCpl Kugler to enter his home and maneuver around it easily.
Smart tech installed in the home enables LCpl Kugler to control things like the lights, the thermostat and more essential home features from an app on his phone or tablet. These renovations make a major difference for LCPl Kugler and his family.
“My daily struggles have become more manageable. My routine is less exhausting. I have a place to sit in the shower with a shower wand that reaches me. Leaving the comfort of our home is less intimidating since I don’t have to think about the steps I have to take to get out of the house. T2T literally removed them,” said LCpl Kugler. “Tunnel to Towers gave me part of my life back. They have blessed me with the ability to be more independent with less risk of further injury.”
The Foundation also renovated the master bathroom and the spare bathroom to make it ADA-compliant.
“LCpl Kugler dedicated his career to keeping the roads of South Carolina safe. I am honored to make his home a little safer for him. I know these renovations will make a huge difference for him and his whole family,” said Tunnel to Towers Chairman and CEO Frank Siller.
The Tunnel to Towers Smart Home Program builds specially adapted, mortgage-free smart homes, or renovates existing homes, to help our most catastrophically injured veterans and first responders gain back their day-to-day independence.
Join us on our mission to provide life-changing smart homes to our nation’s catastrophically injured servicemembers and first responders by visiting T2T.org and donating just $11 per month.
About the Tunnel to Towers Foundation
Born from the tragedy of 9/11, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation carries out its mission to “do good,” by providing mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children and by building specially-adapted smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders. Tunnel to Towers is also committed to eradicating veteran homelessness and helping America to Never Forget September 11, 2001. Visit t2t.org to learn more.
Trevor Tamsen — Trevor.Tamsen@t2t.org