The city of Greenville announced Dec. 1 that Thomas and Vivian A. Wong, longtime philanthropists and entrepreneurs in the community, have donated $1 million toward the construction of the Honor Tower in Unity Park in Greenville.
This marks one of Unity Park‘s largest contributions to date. The tower, now officially called the Thomas and Vivian A. Wong Honor Tower, will stand 125 feet above the park as the centerpiece of the 60-acre park.
The Wongs moved to South Carolina from Hong Kong nearly 60 years ago, building the first Dragon Den restaurant and going on to invest in hotels, industrial projects and international business ventures.
Moreover, they’ve donated land for the Cancer Survivors Park and the Patewood Medical Campus. Vivian has served on Greenville Tech Foundation’s advisory board, supported community-focused charities such as Goodwill, and served as Gov. Nikki Haley’s honorary trade ambassador.
Thomas has since died, but his daughter Madina Cauthen and Vivian were on hand at the event.
“Being American really meant a lot to them. And I think the vision behind what the Honor Tower stands for was important to them,” Cauthen said. “Greenville needs a place where they can honor first responders and veterans, and it will be a place of honor.”
The tower has been funded by a mix of private and public donations, with the city providing $5.5 million and the other $5.5 million coming from private donations, $2 million of which have already been committed. With the Wongs’ donation, that brings the tally up to $3 million for private donations.
Construction is set to start soon, and it should be completed by the end of 2023.
The tower’s location, between two formerly segregated parks, will serve as symbolic of the unity the city is hoping to create.