First Person: Fireworks fan

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Tom Martin coordinated the Smoke on the Water fireworks display in Clovis for 13 years.

After the Smoke on the Water fireworks display was dropped for a few years in the early 90’s, Tom Martin, a Clovis business owner, decided to pick them back up in 1994. His first concern was finding funding, but he quickly overcame that hurdle to raise the Independence Day celebration from the dead. Now, Martin has passed the sparkler onto another organizer.

Around town: After the fireworks were dropped for a few years, every year I heard, “I think we need fireworks” around town but we never did (anything).

Working it: We raised $10,000 that first year and it continued to grow. Last year’s show was $30,000 worth of fireworks. We like to say it’s the biggest in 100 miles.

Independence Day: Of all the holidays, the Fourth of July is a holiday that crosses every line. It’s not religious, it’s not about an individual. If you’re standing on U.S. soil, you have reason to celebrate. I’m not a big flag waving patriot, but I think we’ve got a pretty good place here.

Cause for celebration: We have every reason to celebrate. It’s a festive occasion just to say we’re pretty happy to be here. And when else are we going to shoot fireworks.

Out of excuses: Since I’ve passed off the fireworks, I have no excuse not to work before the show when we are very busy. I used to be able to tell the manager of my store that I was involved with the fireworks so I couldn’t work, even though the company that puts on the fireworks took care of it all.

– Compiled by CNJ staff writer Liliana Castillo