Gov. Sarah Palin and evangelist Franklin Graham flew out of Wasilla Airport this morning to the Yukon River village of Russian Mission, where Graham’s international Christian relief group plans to deliver food to dozens of families today.
Graham, a pilot, flew with Palin in one of the charity’s King Air propeller planes. In another plane: Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell and Anchorage Baptist Temple Pastor Jerry Prevo. After Russian Mission, the group plans to visit the nearby village of Marshall later in the day.
Dude’s Exit Question: Does Palin ever take a bad picture?
UPDATE by Ramrocks: Once again, I’d like to offer the link to Samaritan’s Purse for all those who would like to donate to this relief effort.
A reader emailed:
Just made my donation in “Honor of Gov. Palin” to Samaritan Purse for Project Alaska.
I hope all Gov. Palin supporters can generate millions more than Planned Parenthood did.
What a wonderful idea! Let’s do it, folks.
UPDATE II by Ramrocks: The ADN’s Alaska Politics Blog reports:
Finally, one of the planes from Graham’s international Christian relief group landed and we all watched for Graham to emerge. Anchorage Baptist Temple Pastor Jerry Prevo stepped out instead.
(Graham, a pilot, would arrive on the next flight. He flew out with Palin. Parnell & Prevo took the other plane.)
The charity, Samaritan’s Purse, is spending roughly $65,000 on food for Western Alaska villages.
I’m working on a video of the scene, and Palin’s comments on the trip. Look for it here later today.
Here’s a couple excerpts from the Q&A before the flight:
Q: How would you respond to people who said that you should have made this trip, you know, a month ago or six weeks ago? Why wait until now?
PALIN:Well from the day that Sean Parnell and I got elected, our efforts have been to make sure that we have a revitalized economy in Alaska. And that job opportunities would be seized by all Alaskans. Especially those in rural Alaska to recognize that instead of importing our workforce as we do today, to such a large extent, we want the young people in rural Alaska to get these jobs. That has been our effort from the day we got elected.
Now, as for personally what Sean and I have done as individuals to help in rural Alaska, in faith-based communities, you know I think, well I think Matthew 6:3 says it best. It’s a scripture that says, ‘let not your right hand know what your left hand is doing.’ If you’re going to do a personal charitable effort… what we do personally to support and tithe and offer assistance to some of these missions, I’m going to keep that to myself.
UPDATE III by Ramrocks: Our reader HRH has an answer for JR’s question, “Does Palin ever take a bad photo?” No, she doesn’t. So says Gov. Palin’s semi-official photographer and good friend Judy Patrick, who is in Rome for an exhibition of her photos of the Guv.
UPDATE IV by Ramrocks: I found it interesting that Gov. Palin mentioned her husband’s upbringing in rural Alaska and his decision to move away for work, despite his love for the rural subsistence lifestyle. No one can say that she doesn’t understand. She gets it. Bringing jobs to these people is the long term solution to this crisis.
Gov. Palin and Rev. Graham distribute food boxes in the village of Russian Mission.
They watched the ADN video (see VO’s update above) and zeroed in on the same thing I did:
This video, shot by the Anchorage Daily News on Friday, highlights interviews with Gov. Sarah Palin and Franklin Graham, and it’s interesting, not because of Graham — son of Rev. Billy Graham — but because of Palin’s thoughtful remarks on the never-ending struggle facing many villages.
Palin approached a topic that most Alaska politicians shy away from — the need to seek employment and opportunities outside village Alaska. (For Outside readers, there are more than 200 villages in Alaska, most unconnected to roads and the power grid.)
Palin may have been criticised for not reacting swiftly enough to cries for help from villages hurting this winter from high food and fuel prices, but she clearly is thinking about the long-term future of rural Alaska.
The harsh reality is that rural Alaskans have limited opportunities, be it employment, education or even dating. In the early 21st century, rural residents are still dealing with many of the same perplexing questions as they have for decades:
How do they hold on to tradition, to hunting, to fishing? If people leave the village for new opportunities, how can the community sustain itself? What is the purpose of the village today? Why are so many people suffering from suicide and alcoholism?
Watch this video and listen closely to Palin’s remarks. It seems she’s thinking about these larger issues, and perhaps this might prompt a state conversation sorely needed, especially in these uncertain economic times.