‘As genuine as it gets’: Friend remembers Nebraska man killed in plane crash

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Dustan Biegler found his passion above ground in the clouds.

The man from Valparaiso, a village of about 600 people northeast of Lincoln, was working to get his pilot’s license when the plane he was in crashed near Auburn in southeast Nebraska.

Officials said the plane had left the Lincoln Airport for Auburn, but then disappeared.

Both Biegler, 41, and the pilot, 24-year-old Colton Hill, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Biegler’s childhood friend, Marcus Kuhlmann, said Biegler’s big smile was just an outside extension of who Biegler was on the inside.

“Dustan was about as genuine as it gets,” Kuhlmann said. “He had that big pearly white smile. It didn’t matter where you came from, it didn’t matter how much money you had, it didn’t matter anything. Dustan didn’t care; he wasn’t a judging person. He was a genuine person with real moral ethics, values and family values.”

Kuhlmann and Biegler co-founded Lincoln business Apple Roofing together in September 2011.

It’s a business they started from the ground up that grew to 17 locations throughout the U.S.

Since Biegler’s death, roofing industry leaders have reached out with their condolences from as far as Mexico and Canada.

“Losing Dustan to this industry shook the industry pretty hard, and it was like the loss of Kobe Bryant to the NBA,” Kuhlmann said.

Biegler frequently spoke at construction conventions as a leader in the industry.

Throughout his time at Apple Roofing, he bred a culture of work and fun, but family always remained at the forefront.

He took the time to get to know employees’ families by taking to the Caribbean show his appreciation.

He thought it was important to take the time to mentor up-and-comers in the industry and meet co-workers’ families.

Biegler leaves behind his wife and three children, whom he held at the front of every decision he made.

“There aren’t words that can give a tribute to Dustan that is deserving of what he really is to the world, what he was to his family and what he was to his friends,” Kuhlmann said. “The guy would just take his shirt off his back for anybody. It didn’t matter where you come from, who you were, he was open arms with a big smile all the time.”

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