MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A new float to honor local fallen officers will roll through the streets of downtown Mobile this Mardi Gras season. With the goal to allow a fun time for the families of the fallen, even if it’s just for a short time while honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The Family of the Fallen float is ready to roll for Mardi Gras 2023 for the first time.

“It’s a heartwarming journey for a tragic occasion,” said Joseph Goff, the Vice President of the Family of the Fallen.

It took five years to get to this point. It started during Mardi Gras in 2018. A Mobile police lieutenant saw the child and widow of Steven Green, a Mobile police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 2012.

“We were on our Mardi Gras assignment, myself and Lieutenant Tina Zanca, and Valerie Green and Trey Green, his widow and his son were at the corner of Bienville Square, and someone said ‘hey they’re over here on the corner of Bienville Square if you can stop by, give them a hug, tell them you’re thinking about them.’ Lieutenant Zanca said ‘hey it’s cold, if y’all want to, y’all can get in my truck and warm up.’ Trey got in the truck and all he heard was hey I get to ride in the parade,” said Goff. He continued, “she drove off and said hey it would be a great idea to go ahead and see if maybe we could get a float together to honor fallen officers and their families to let them know their sacrifice was not made in vain and their sacrifice has not been forgotten.”

That next year, a mardi gras organization lent them a law enforcement-themed float. All of the throws were donated to the riders, who were all family members of the fallen.

“The outpouring of support from the community was overwhelming,” said Goff.

Covid halted all parades in 2021, and the Family of the Fallen has spent the past two years building and organizing their own float.

The float’s design not only honors local officers but law enforcement officers across the state of Alabama.

Families of fallen officers and officers injured in the line of duty will fill the float.

“You can see on the float a spot for the fallen officers’ photograph,” said Goff. “So each year, we’ll be able to swap that out.”

A way to give families of the fallen a memorable experience, and to show the community’s support for them and the officer’s ultimate sacrifice. This float will make its debut during the Floral Parade at noon on February 18.

Three officers from the Mobile Police Department’s Honor Guard will march ahead of the float, carrying a folded flag, which is what is given to military and police families when someone is killed in the line of duty. At certain intersections throughout the route of the parade, the parade will stop, and there will be a small ceremony where the Honor Guard will salute the flag, and swap out who is holding the folded flag. During that time, everyone in the parade will stop throwing and stand at attention.

“We would ask the people that see that whenever we do stop that people don’t continue to ask to throw things, that way it’s being respectful to the families and being respectful to the flag,” said Goff.

You can donate items for the families to throw at several locations: the Mobile Police Department’s Headquarters, MPD 1st precinct, MPD 2nd precinct, MPD 4th precinct, and the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office substation on Highway 90.

There are also a few local businesses helping collect donations. Rock the Float is collecting monetary donations and throws for Family of the Fallen, they are located at 3250 Airport Boulevard. Donations are collected until February 16.