Many have questioned Oliver North's character, but he can count on one unwavering fan in Orem.
Keith Haines became a national celebrity in 1986 when he began raising funds for legal defense of the retired Lt. Col. North. Haines said there is about $1.8 million in the trust fund so far.North, the National Security Council staffer fired over the Iran-Contra scandal, was Haines' classmate in the Naval Academy class of 1968, and both served in the Vietnam War.
Haines said the North fund-raiser took off when when a local paper asked him about the private fund he had started. He had hoped North's old classmates would contribute. The Associated Press picked up the story, and money began pouring in from citizens around the country.
"The phone rang non-stop from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily for a few months. I lived on not much sleep."
Haines' next effort came in the form of bumper stickers.
Some said "Thank you Oliver North" and "God bless America and Oliver North."
"We gave away almost 10,000."
His next campaign will involve trying to get radio stations to play "Ode to Ollie," a ballad written by a 9-year-old North supporter in Alaska.
"The Marines don't leave people behind. I will never give up as long as Ollie needs my help," Haines said.
He said his former classmate is innocent of wrongdoing.
"He wouldn't do anything without authority. I would trust him with my life and my family."
Haines said he opposes any proposal to pardon North.
"He did nothing wrong. The Constitution guarantees him a trial, and he will be vindicated, and the charges will be dropped. They will see how much has been fabricated.
"The people who say they want him pardoned just want the issue in the news to make Republicans look bad in an election year," he said.
Haines said he is also working to publicize the plight of surviving MIAs (military personnel who are missing in action).
"There were 2,112 MIAs, and in my opinion, there are at least 300 who are still alive. In the last 31/2 years there have been 177 live sightings of (missing) U.S. servicemen in Southeast Asia. There is documented evidence, but the government is withholding it. It would not be politically expedient to release it.
"It's time everyone stopped passing the buck about hostages - those overseas and their families, and those, like North, in America," he said.
Haines said this efforts in North's behalf take up a lot of his time, but in spare hours he works as an election consultant and fund-raising adviser.
"People may call me a zealot, but you don't get too many Annapolis graduates who are wishy-washy.
"There are two kinds of people in this world - those who act and those who are acted upon. I don't want to be one of the people who just sits back and hopes other people will solve all the problems," Haines added.