Victim in crane accident valued safety

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Greg Wong regularly lectured younger concrete workers about workplace safety. That was before a construction accident killed him last week.

Services for greg wong

Mililani Mortuary, Mauka Chapel

June 23, 6 to 9 p.m. with a wake at 7 p.m.

June 24, viewing 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., funeral service at 11:30 a.m. and burial at 12:30 p.m.

To donate to the Wong family: » Drop off a check payable to his widow, Veron Wong, at any American Savings Bank. » Or send a check payable to Veron Wong to American Standard Concrete Plumbing, 94-400 Koaki St., Waipahu, HI 96797

"He really took a lead and had a desire to keep everybody safe," said Gregory Perrin, president of American Standard Concrete Pumping Hawaii, where Wong worked for 10 years. "It's ironic."

As a concrete pump operator for three decades, Wong worked on many of Oahu's major projects: Ala Moana Center, the H-3 freeway and the airport's new parking lot.

On June 2, Wong, 50, died in a crane accident on the construction site of the Moana Vista, 1009 Kapiolani Blvd. The crane came in contact with the concrete truck's boom, which shifted and struck Wong. The state is investigating the accident.

Before his death, Wong often advised junior employees about hazards at particular construction sites during regular safety meetings for the 30 or so pump operators at American Standard, Perrin said.

"He would bring the operator's perspective versus the management's perspective," Perrin said.

Besides his concern for co-workers, Wong was a respected expert with concrete, from handling improvements in concrete and technology to managing the volatile nature of wet concrete.

"If you talked to all the concrete pumpers across the state, Greg Wong was the top 1 percent. Everyone looked up to him, even the competitors," Perrin said.

Wong never graduated from high school, reaching only the 11th grade at Waianae High School. Through hard work and dedication, he supported his wife and five children, his sister-in-law Verna Perreira said.

Every day he arrived at his workplace a couple of hours early, at about 4:30 a.m., to prepare for the day, his boss said.

About two years ago he became an operator of one of the largest concrete boom trucks in the world, the Schwing, a pumping truck with a vertical reach of 180 feet, or about 18 stories.

Wong took pride in manning the machine, taking his sons in on the weekend to clean it and shine its grille, his family said.

It was the truck he was using during the fatal accident.

Wong, who also had a talent for modifying automobiles, lived in Waianae with two sons, a 2-year-old grandson and his wife of 30 years, Veron.

Veron Wong, 46, took care of the family and did not work. She does not know what she will do next, her sister said.

"They were trying to get on their feet before the accident," Perreira said.

Perrin hopes to raise money for the family by opening a savings account and planning a luau-style fundraiser.

"She doesn't work," Perrin said. "They're going to need some help."

Besides his wife, Wong's survivors include daughter Francesca Davis; sons Gregory Jr., Francis, Bronson and Justin; and 11 grandchildren.

By Rob Shikina

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