One leaf at a time.

One life at a time.

A woman with ties to Seward had a hand in decorating a float that appeared in the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day.

Sarah Mullen, the granddaughter of Earl Cooksey of Seward, also rode on the Lutheran Hour Ministries float to spread the message of the Gospel to the estimated 800,000 people along the parade route in Pasadena, California.

Her parents, Robert and Dawn Cooksey, attended Concordia University, Nebraska.

Having a float in the parade the first day of the year “is a good time to get the word out to people to have faith and hope for the coming year,” she said.

LHM is a Christian outreach ministry that provides The Lutheran Hour radio program, daily devotions, help topics and booklets and evangelism training, among other things, to more than 125 million people who hear or read the Gospel each week through LHM programs, services or materials.

A resident of St. Louis, Missouri, Mullen is a digital marketing specialist for LHM. Nearing her second anniversary of employment at the non-profit organization, she is involved with LHM’s social media presence.

Mullen said her husband, Cory, accompanied her on the trip to Southern California. They both volunteered to work on the float. Her job was to apply silver leaves “one leaf at a time” on the center circle portion of an anchor. 

“It was an area of about 18 inches across, but it took about four hours to do,” she said.

Check-in on parade day was about 6 a.m., when it was about 35 degrees that morning, according to Mullen. She said the parade started about 8 a.m. and was done by noon.

The LHM float was No. 9 on the schedule. But because it had a religious message, it was not shown on the major networks broadcasting the event. The RFD Network and the Hallmark Channel did include it in their coverage.

Mullen said her spot on the float was designated on the side not visible to TV cameras, as she was shooting video of the audience’s positive reaction to the float and its message. She posted videos of the interaction with the people on Facebook and Instagram.

“I was really grateful to have this chance,” she said. “It was definitely moving to see people tearing up, pointing to the sky. It was refreshing to see their positive perception of us.

“It was very clear we were making a positive impact.”

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