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Palin says ministry is close to her heart
Former VP nominee speaks at Gwinnett event to benefit program for disabled
0630Sarah Palin Sega
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin examines a therapeutic tricycle she was presented for her family Tuesday before speaking at the P.U.R.E. Ministries event in Duluth. - photo by Erik S. Lesser

Her home may be dozens of degrees cooler and clear across the country, but former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin felt right at home in Georgia on Tuesday night.

“Here y’all have the Atlanta Falcons and Hawks, and in Alaska we have all kinds of falcons and hawks,” Palin joked to the crowd gathered at The Arena at Gwinnett Center.

Although she shared a story of watching her oldest son graduate from boot camp at Fort Benning a few years ago, the purpose of her visit wasn’t to reminisce. Instead, Palin was in town to serve as the special, guest speaker for the P.U.R.E Celebration, a night of music and fellowship designed to encourage churches to welcome members with disabilities.

P.U.R.E. is an acronym for: Perfectly created by a loving sovereign God, Unique in his or her own gifts, Receptive and responsive to our communication and Eternal — there are no disabled souls.

As a mother of a son with Down syndrome, Palin said the mission of the P.U.R.E. Ministry Project is near to her heart.

“The purpose of P.U.R.E. is to make churches and communities less afraid of (people with disabilities). It’s not just a clever acronym, it truly describes my little guy,” Palin said.

She learned that her youngest son, Trig Palin, was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome around 12 weeks into her pregnancy.

“At first I was shocked and my world stopped. I was quite overwhelmed and didn’t know how I would get my heart around it,” Palin said.

“But when Trig was born, they placed him in my arms and he sort of melted into my chest — it was a moment of unspeakable joy. God gave us eyes to see his perfections, not his imperfections. When he was born, it was like, ‘Yeah, God knew what he was doing.’”

The P.U.R.E Ministry Project is the mission of Sautee Nacoochee-based Zachariah’s Way, which was created in 2003 and named after David Glover’s grandson, who was born with special needs.

“This isn’t about our ministry or about you or me either,” Glover said.

“Tonight is about glorifying God and discovering what he wants of us.”

During the event, attendees were treated to multiple musical performances and special messages from NASCAR driver David Ragan — who has an older brother that has Down’s syndrome and retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner — who has a son with special needs.

“My older brother Adam (Ragan) is not disabled, he’s inspirational,” Ragan said.

“He’s like an unyielding stream of faith, steady and strong.”