Palin to focus on family at event

DULUTH -- Who better to bring to home the message that special-needs families are just like the rest of us than the world's most famous hockey mom?

Sarah Palin, who rose to fame in 2008 from the governor of Alaska to a vice presidential nominee, will spend Tuesday in Gwinnett talking not about politics but about family.

For David Glover, a Gainesville man who began Zachariah's Way ministry to talk about the challenges his grandson faced even in church, Palin was the perfect person to talk about acceptance, since her youngest child Trig has Down syndrome.

Glover learned from the short life of his grandson the struggles that parents of special-needs children endure, often alienated because people do not know how to deal with their children.

But he said the "pure" children just need love, and they teach people so much more about Christianity by their own caring, nonjudgmental souls.

"There's a simplicity about their lives," he said. "All they care about are people and relationships, which is exactly what Christians are called to do."

Twice, Glover thought his vision of having Palin headline the event would not come true. Just days before he had a meeting scheduled at the governor's office, Palin resigned the position. But he was able to find a phone number for Palin's sister, who is also a special-needs mom.

Before the speech could be arranged, though, Palin signed on with the Washington Speakers Bureau, and he thought all hope was lost until he got a phone call a week later.

"We know it was a God thing," he said of the details coming through.

In Tuesday's Pure Celebration, Palin is free to talk about whatever she wants to, Glover said, but the tone of the event isn't political. It's about learning and accepting people who are different.

With an unnamed Christian artist expected to entertain the crowd, Glover is hoping to fill the 7,000-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, but the event is not sold out and ticket prices have been cut.

Glover said he did not know how many seats remained, but on Friday ticket prices were sliced in half -- now they vary from $12.50 to $32.50.

"We're trying to do something that is so unique," he said, pointing out that the event was not for special-needs families but for "everybody else."

"If we told people this was a political event, we probably would have sold tickets easier, but we had to be honest," he said, noting that there is also a $1,000-a-ticket reception with proceeds going to the ministry