STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — After seeing firsthand the work of first responders, former Penn State football player, LaVar Arrington, is advocating for increased funding for fire companies.

“I could say it’s super exciting, because it is,” Arrington said. “But more importantly than super exciting, it’s super important. It’s necessary.”

Arrington met with local firefighters Friday at the Nittany MinitMart State College headquarters to call attention to the company’s third annual firefighter fundraiser.

“We are proud to know that we are helping volunteer fire departments,” Nittany MinitMart Representative Nickie Masullo said. “The money goes to local fire companies in 11 counties where we operate.”

A penny from each gallon of gas sold in April and May will go directly to fire companies, with Pennsylvania Skill games matching all donations.

“They have to be supported by our communities and by our local businesses or we won’t have them,” Arrington said.

Alpha Fire Company president, Shawn Kauffman, stressed the importance of donations like this in a time when expenses to train volunteers are increasing.

“We use the funds from donated items like this to retain our volunteers,” Kauffman said. “So, we buy uniforms. We buy furniture for our bunk rooms so we can provide the services to our community that are needed.”

LaVar Arrington gathers with volunteer firefighters in State College

Arrington looks to continue advocating for causes that are important to him and encourages others to do the same.

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“I just hope that people understand that it’s not just lip service, it’s real service,” Arrington said. “So, even if you’re not in a great position to be able to give, make sure you’re passing it along.”