BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – A large fundraiser is planned this weekend in memory of fallen Buffalo firefighter Jason Arno.

Sarah Tierney said her late husband and the father of their daughter, Olivia, was a true hero, adding the community’s love and support these past months have helped her and her family during a difficult time.

“I can’t even express how thankful we are for all of the support from the community and across the country,” she told News 4. “This was tragic you know, earth-shattering for our family it eased the blow a little bit knowing we had so many people behind us, supporting us.”

The Firefighter Arno Memorial Foundation was created in Arno’s memory as a way to give back to Western New York first responders in need. This Sunday, the foundation is planning a big fundraiser to not only raise money but to celebrate Arno’s life.

Arno was killed on March 1 while battling a four-alarm fire on Main Street in downtown Buffalo. The fundraiser will be held on what would have been Arno’s 38th birthday.

“Jay touched a lot of people and he died a hero so I think he deserves to be honored,” Tierney said. “I think he would be proud of us for continuing to support his brothers and sisters on the fire department and other first responders and what better legacy to leave.”

Tierney said she’s looking forward to celebrating Arno this Sunday with the community.

The foundation is close to meeting its goal of raising $50,000. That money will be used toward providing resources to first responders and to start a scholarship program for high school seniors whose parents are first responders.

“As a foundation, we’re here for any way we can support first responders and their families and this is just the beginning,” said one of Arno’s closest friends, James Fierro.

The foundation’s event is this Sunday starting at 9 a.m. with a volleyball tournament. There will be live music by Nerds Gone Wild at 2 p.m. and the event ends at 6 p.m. It’ll be held at the Holidays Sports Bar and Volleyball in West Seneca.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.