After a fire in Buffalo on Wednesday, which killed a firefighter, the City of Good Neighbors is taking action. At least four fundraisers have been started in honor of firefighter Jason Daniel Arno and to help his wife Sarah-Liz and their 3-year-old daughter Olivia.
As of Saturday night, two GoFundMe.com campaigns had already raised more than $290,000. Buffalo Professional Firefighters Local 282 was also taking donations in the form of checks, gift cards, and Venmo payments.
Delton Arno, Jason Arno’s brother, started a GoFundMe campaign called “The family of Buffalo Firefighter Jason Arno.”
Delton Arno wrote –
“Jason Arno was a father, husband, son, brother and best friend to many. He leaves behind a wife (of 10 years, but officially married 6 months ago) and a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Olivia. He was my younger brother by 1 yr and 17 days.”
“With how close we were and the suddenness of his passing, no journey in my 38 years has been more harrowing.”
He wrote that Arno’s wife, Sarah, was his “soul mate” who was “perfect for Jay.” Delton Arno wrote that their daughter Olivia still doesn’t know that her father has died.
“The fact that she and his wife, these two beautiful souls, have to face these disgustingly unfair circumstances is heart-wrenching.”
In asking for the community to help support Sarah and Oliva, he wrote –
“I have so much anger and sadness and regret in my heart. Every morning I wake shaken from the memory of this unshakable event. When this is over and the silence is here, I want Sarah and his precious, three-year-old daughter, the years of peace that’s the minimum requirement to figure this out from within.”
A family friend, Courtney Englert, set up a second GoFundMe called “Arno Family.” She sent a very sad picture of Arno holding his daughter and putting a fire helmet on her head. Englert wrote –
“No one will feel this heartbreaking loss more than his wife Sarah-Liz and their three-year-old daughter, Olivia.”
“Jason lived every waking moment of his life for his girls and served as their constant protector, relentless provider, and limitless source of over-flowing love, affection, and pride. Jason Arno was truly defined by his family.”
“He was a man who put his wife and daughter first, and sacrificed everything to ensure they were cared for. … He joined the Buffalo Fire Department to ensure his family was provided for.”
“Please help Jason rest easy knowing Sarah-Liz and Olivia Arno can grieve the loss of their husband and father without the pressures of financial insecurity. He paid the ultimate price and they made the ultimate sacrifice for the people of Buffalo.”
The Buffalo News asked GoFundMe to check on both of these fundraisers. The union posted to its Facebook page Saturday –
“We champion ourselves for being the ‘City of good neighbours,’ for helping those in need near and far. For that we always win. By raising each other up as a strong city with strong communities ready and willing to take on whatever is thrown at us.”
“We are seeing just that with the outpouring support for our brother Firefighter Jason Arno and the entire Arno family. Although we cannot thank each and every one of you individually, just know that we all see it.”
“The family sees it and you are making a difference. For every tragedy there’s always a shining light that begins to break through the heavy clouds over us. That light has fully broken through because of the graciousness everyone has shown.”
Checks can be made out to the Buffalo Professional Firefighters and sent to 500 Southside Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14210, for Jason Arno’s family. You can also leave gift cards at the address. Venmo donations can be made to @IAFF282. By Saturday at noon, more than $50,000 had been given to the union through the Venmo account alone.
Oxford Pennant, which is close to where the fire started, said it will give all of its Saturday and Sunday profits to the Arno family through purchases made at oxfordpennant.com. The company said that as of early Saturday afternoon, it had raised $20,000 for the family.