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North visiting Valley

January 03, 2002|STAFF REPORT

Oliver North will visit the Imperial Valley on Jan. 19 as the guest of Youth for Christ.

The public is invited to hear North at a banquet at the Barbara Worth Golf Resort.

Tickets for the gourmet dinner are $100, with table sponsorships costing $1,000. North will share his experiences as a syndicated radio host, television commentator, bestselling author, former Reagan administration adviser and combat Marine.

Earlier the same day Youth for Christ will be having a golf tournament.

YFC is the largest non-profit organization in the county ministering to teen-agers. All funding for the organization comes from charitable donations.

YFC has been operating in Imperial County since 1995, and now has 18 Campus Life clubs at junior high schools and high schools, a ministry inside the county juvenile hall and a program for pregnant teens.


"YFC introduces kids to the Christian life," said Todd Evangelist, executive director of the local organization. "That is why we work real well with local youth pastors. On a weekly basis we come into contact with 500 teen-agers. Forty to 50 percent of those young people don't attend a church youth group."

Evangelist, county director since May 1996, said YFC is hoping for no more than 400 people at the event.

"I want more of an intimate setting," Evangelist said. "I feel an obligation with people paying $100 a ticket. The evening itself will be a significant fund-raiser for us.

"I am really interested in meeting North. Just recently he was at Camp Rhino, the Marine base in Afghanistan. I am excited to hear what is happening there from a military standpoint. He has certainly come to notoriety as a person who displays courage under extreme circumstances. … The things he is going to speak on are faith and family values, and his recent trip to Afghanistan," Evangelist said.

North was born in San Antonio. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and served 22 years as a U.S. Marine. His awards for service in combat include the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for valor and two Purple Hearts for wounds in combat.

While assigned to the National Security Council staff in the Reagan administration, he was involved in planning the rescue of 804 medical students from Grenada, played a role in the capture of the hijackers of the cruise ship Achille Lauro, and helped plan the U.S. raid on Muammar Qaddafi's terrorist bases in Libya.

North came to prominence during the Iran-Contra hearings. He later was convicted of lying to Congress, illegally destroying government documents and accepting a home security system, but those convictions were overturned by an appeals court.

In 1994 he ran for the U.S. Senate from Virginia but lost.

North broadcasts his nationally syndicated radio show five days a week. He is the founder of Freedom Alliance, a foundation that provides scholarships for the sons and daughters of service members killed in action.

With all his experiences he claims his most important accomplishment as being "the husband of one and the father of four."

Evangelist's assistant, Hannah Shipman, was instrumental in securing North as the keynote speaker. Shipman had a number of contacts in Washington, D.C., from when she served an internship in the capital. Friends of YFC offered to cover North's costs.

For more information about the dinner or the golf tournament call the YFC office at 352-7070.

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