By Dominic Garcia
THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – If you want to know just how patriotic Gene Lavery and his wife, Colette, are look no further than their Thornton front yard.
“We love this country and we show our pride everywhere we go,” Gene told CBS4.
Gene is from Germany and came here when he was 8 years old. He actually quit high school to join the military and served during the Vietnam War. For him the flag is something he holds dearly.
“It just reminds me of everything that’s happened in this country from its birth. The wars we’ve fought, the lives that were lost,” he said.
Gene and his wife are now naturalized citizens and love the 4th of July. But in the past, the celebration has been overshadowed by a loud nuisance… fireworks.
They say for years people have been lighting off loud fireworks starting weeks before the 4th, and they’re not only annoying, but a safety hazard.
“Bottle rockets, that’s what I’m worried about because they go on your roof and they can set fire to your house,” said Colette.
But this year, they say they’ve noticed a dramatic drop in number of people shooting off fireworks and credit the city’s big anti firework campaign.
Police have been active on social media, signs are all over the city, and door hangers were even passed out reminding people that all fireworks are illegal in Thornton. City officials say violations will result in a mandatory fine between $500 and $1,000. Thornton Police say calls for fireworks are down almost 50 percent.
“This year so far it’s been very quiet. I think word has gotten out, there’s a lot of publicity behind it,” said Gene Lavely.
Gene hopes this year, people leave fireworks to the professionals.
“I’m not totally against the use of fireworks. If they’re done appropriately and if they’re done in a manner in what they were intended for… and that’s the celebration of the 4th of July.”