Grieving Wife Honors Late Husband by Leaving Cooler & Sweet Note out Every Day


A woman from New Jersey is honoring her husband’s legacy in a heartwarming way by paying it forward to people in her community.

Now, Velvet Poveromo’s actions are gaining momentum, with people from other parts of the country honoring her husband’s life in the same way.

Velvet had been married to her husband, Charlie Poveromo for 37 years. She described her husband as incredibly hardworking, keeping the household in order and making sure everyone was taken care of.

When Charlie was alive, Velvet often found herself in awe of the heavy load Charlie was able to carry, day after day, with joy. Now that he’s passed away, Velvet has found herself trying to fill Charlie’s shoes — and realizing she can’t do it all the way he could.

But what Velvet could do was carry on one of her husband’s favorite traditions.

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“Maybe 5+ years ago, we were suffering thru a brutal summer heat wave and Charlie saw our garbage truck pull up and the men were pale and sweating profusely,” Velvet recalled on Facebook.

“He came running into the kitchen, grabbed a bunch of plastic cups and our big jug of water and made sure everyone got as much as they wanted.”

That was the beginning of “Charlie’s Cooler,” which Charlie kept stocked with ice, bottled water, gatorade, and even snacks. Any worker who spent their day in the heat was welcome to come by for a break, knowing that Charlie’s Cooler was a welcoming place of respite.

Sadly, Charlie died suddenly of a heart attack in March.

This summer, as Velvet thought about her husband’s cooler, she felt the sorrow of grief rise in her heart once more.

Charlie wasn’t around to take care of the community this summer — but filling an ice chest with cold drinks was something Velvet felt important for her to do as a way to honor his legacy.

Velvet left a sign on the cooler, letting the nearby workers know what had happened to Charlie.

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She was soon overwhelmed with the love she received back from everyone who Charlie had helped — cards, encouraging notes, and even a beautiful tribute from a sanitation team:

“I heard the unmistakable sound of the garbage truck ease to a stop and as I turned to look, I watched in awe as each man stepped off the truck, the driver getting out to join them and in a straight line they stood together and saluted our home and me!!” Velvet said.

What started out as a rather uncomfortable step of faith for Velvet has left her overflowing with joy. And the best part is that people around the country have told her that they, too, are leaving “Charlie’s Coolers” in their own yards.

“It just keeps growing. It started out with this,” Velvet said. “A cooler on a lawn.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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