Single father donates $200k from shaved ice business after wife dies

LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) - There's nothing more refreshing than a cup of shaved ice on a hot summer day. The man behind the window will tell you he doesn't mind the heat because serving this tasty treat means he can give back.

"I've done 18-hour days in 100-degree temperature, and I love it," said Evan Louie, who started the Kona Ice franchise in Las Vegas about four years ago.

In a matter of years, Louie, a local father and businessman, has donated more than $200,000 locally through donations, scholarships and fundraisers.

But his passion dates back to 2007, a time his world turned upside down. Four months after marriage, his wife was diagnosed with brain cancer. She was 7 and a half months pregnant at the time.

"After she passed away, I wanted to make a difference for families and people," Louie said. "Being a single father raising an 8-year-old daughter, I thought nothing better than affecting our local community and education."

Louie took a unique approach to helping. Rather than create a non-profit, he decided to start a business so his program can be self-sustained. He's teamed up with the Discovery Children's Museum, giving back 25 percent of the proceeds to the group.

"We subsidized program bringing out celebrities for education," Louie said. "We sponsor leadership programs and several other programs based on revenue."

This year, Louie's goal is to raise $10,000 by November for these programs.

Louie has also raised money for such groups as the Injured Police Officers Fund, UNLV DECA, and worked on a number of projects with the Clark County School District.

"We've changed life of a kid," Louie said. "We've had students come to us in the course of these projects going on, and says 'I'm going to be an astronaut or a scientist,' and a piece of it was because they had that one on one connection with people in our community."

People who've worked with Louie will say his acts of giving are genuine.

"I've gotten to know him quite personally," said Denyce Tuller, the director of public relations at the Children's Discovery Museum. "He's committing as a person to leave a legacy for his daughter and wife, and to make his community a better place for our children to grow up in."

Louie knows this is how he will make a difference, and each ice cold cup is served with a purpose that'll warm your heart.

"After my wife passed away, you value every experience in your life, and what it is to live life, and it gives you that vitality," Louie said. "People say you can't change the world because you're one person, but technically if you change the life of one person, and their perspective on life, then you changed their world, so you are changing the world."

A Kona ice mobile cart will stay inside the Discovery Children's Museum for the time being, open just a few days a week, with 25 percent of the gross profits to go to support the museum.
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