'Charlie's Cooler' goes viral as New Jersey widow honors husband's good deed

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Thursday, July 12, 2018
Widow carries on husband's good deeds
Toni Yates has the story of a woman helping her community, in honor of her husband.

NEW MILFORD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A widow from New Jersey is carrying on her husband's good deeds, and now, her efforts have gone viral as communities around the nation take up her cause.

Charlie Poveromo passed away in March, but every summer for the past eight years, he gave back to those he saw suffering in the heat. His wife Velvet is continuing the mission.

"My Charlie loved me," she said. "He loved other people."

Charlie was the type of person who took action, and one idea in particular gave him comfort as his reward. It began one hot summer eight years ago.

"One day, he saw the garbage truck pull up, he was in the kitchen, and he saw the guy jump off to get our garbage, and he staggered," Velvet said. "He was sweating and pale, and (Charlie) came running in the house and grabbed a big jug of water, grabbed the jug, grabbed some cups, came out and put them over here under the shade."

Velvet lost the love of her life three short months ago when Charlie died from a heart attack, after the high school sweethearts were married nearly 40 years. And there was no way she would ever let his good deed die. "Charlie's Cooler" is now her gracious responsibility.

"It became mail carriers, DPW, all municipal workers," she said. "Anybody, really. If someone's walking along, and it's hot like it is today, and it was a brutal heat wave at that time. And they're more than welcome."

Velvet and friends shared Charlie's deed on social media, and now others in at least 15 states have taken up the cause by leaving cool drinks and even snacks for workers or walkers who are out in the summer heat.

"It's given us a reason to smile," Charlie's sister, Monica Pidhorecki, said. "And it's such a great way to honor him and keep his memory alive."

A massive chain reaction followed in just a few short days, allowing Charlie's kindness to as take on a life of its own. He's given others a thoughtful way to give back.

"The first day it was a little iffy," high school friend Karen Martino said. "No one was here, and it was like, oh come on, where is everyone? And then they started coming. We emptying it out almost every day."


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