UCF football player, Hawaii native donates NIL money to Maui wildfires relief: 'Ohana is a real thing'

UCF football player and Hawaii native Lokahi Pauole is showing some love to his home state. 

The offensive lineman said in a UCF football press conference over the weekend he donated portions of his NIL earnings toward Maui wildfires relief. With the death toll climbing to 96, the Lahaina wildfire has become the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in over a century.

"It's just a really sad day for the Hawaiian islands, sad day for the country," Pauole told reporters on Saturday. "It's a tourist destination, a spot where everyone loves to visit. I donated back to help out Maui's community – I took some of my NIL money and donated back to them. I just feel like in Hawaii, we're all a family. Ohana is a real thing."


The Kapolei native said while he's from Oahu and doesn't have any immediate family in Maui, he's still "connected" to the community suffering as over 2,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed in the region. 

"Prayers out to them. I'm praying for them every day," he said. "Reaching out to who I can reach out to and I appreciate everyone who's been reaching out to me. It means a lot." 


Pauole also encouraged others to donate. 

"If there's anything I can say, if you guys have it, and if you've visited Hawaii before, don't be afraid to donate. Don't be afraid to help out," he said. "Especially in this trying time."