The Heart of the Constitutional Battle By Melinia Bilodeau
When I first pulled into the Silver Spur Hotel with my best friend, Maureen, I have to say my heart was pounding. I had been III%, Patriot, Constitutionalist, whatever you would like to call it for some time, but very quiet, I knew this trip was going to be a turning point, just not to what extent.
We got our room key and started getting settled with Wesley helping us get our things out of my SUV. We knocked on Pete and Deb’s door to let them know we had arrived safe, I was finally meeting this larger than life guy I had been watching all this time. Guess what, he was pretty soft spoken…not what I was expecting. When I was introduced and went to shake his hand, he gave me a hug. So did Deb. I gave him the rubber duck that I had brought down for him from my husband because of the statement he had made during the rally for the Hammonds that he wanted to be called Rubber Duck or something, he was genuinely touched and liked it, this man was as REAL as you get. This girl was impressed. Maureen and I then headed out to what was now being called the Harney County Resource Center with Wesley as our guide.
As we drove up the road I was astonished that schools got shut down and all of the upheaval that was caused in the town of Burns…this was WAY out there, a winding road, with some straight stretches up a mountain side. Why on earth was there a need to close the schools? Why all the fear? This place was far from the town. There was no threat.
Anyway, with a little apprehension because although I knew most of the people that they are calling the originals, I didn’t know what to expect, we pulled up to the front gate/guard post after 30 miles of driving on compact snow and ice. A white truck blocked our way in and a young man came out to greet us with a smile
“How are you folks doing tonight?”
“Just fine thank you, and yourself?”
“Freezing but doing well, are you coming in for a visit?”
Maureen “Yes, Jason is expecting us”
The guard recognized Wesley and nodded.
“O.k. you guys have a great evening”
“You too, try to stay warm”
He then walked back to the white truck to back it and let us through waving to us with a smile as we drove past. All my apprehension faded.
We had a visit with Jason, Jon and Ryan Payne that evening, it wasn’t long as it was late and we wanted to get back and get some rest before the press conference the next morning. Hugs went around and we left going through the same routine at the front gate on the way out.
There was light chatter on the way back to town but I think we were in our own thoughts for the most part.
When we got back to the hotel Wesley went back up to his room and Maureen and I knocked on Pete and Deb’s door.
He smiled that big Pete Santilli smile of his and said he was live streaming and asked if Moe wanted to be on, she said sure. He started to interview her and the next thing I knew I was on the show as well. I was nervous as hell, but Pete and Deb made me feel right at home.
Pete was amazing!!!!!! He made me feel like I was talking to my friends, he actually became my friend that night. He even wanted to share the fact that I brought a rubber duck from my husband. When I gave Pete and Deb the cards that my step-daughter made for them he was visibly touched. He was truly touched to the heart, that someone who was so young listened to him and was grateful for the fact that he put out the truth.
It was this moment, when I started to see the real Peter Thomas Santilli.
Over the next week I spent almost all of my time with Pete and Deb, following them to different points that needed to be covered. He was always very concerned for our safety and making sure that we were able to be there for what truly is history in the making.
During the press conferences he was the Pete that we all want and need, raw…asking the questions that most are afraid to ask, rebutting the things that most don’t think to rebut or don’t have the fortitude to. He would get that famous bullhorn and get his point across to those who were rude or loud enough to talk over him. Those are the times we would laugh and smile because those are the times that we knew were going to be so controversial that no one could ignore what was being said and it would no doubt be talked about.
I remember one press conference we were running a bit late and I was following Pete, he asked if I wanted to and I told him that I would.
“Are you sure? I drive fast at times.”
“That isn’t a problem for me, don’t worry”
Maureen “She will kill me if she does not get this opportunity to speed” LOL
Maureen was right I would have, well, just wounded her a little. So, we took off to the Resource Center. I kept up with Pete, even doing 80+ on that snow and ice. Very impressive. He was still very safe. So I have to say, being an ex-racer and car enthusiast…he earned another bar of respect from me that day. When we reached the press area just outside the main gate/guard station and parked, I hopped out, looked at Pete and said
“I thought you said you drive fast.” He laughed and we rushed up to the staging area for Ammon to speak to us for the morning.
After the press conference we all waited a bit to see what was going on for the day, I was taking random pictures trying to figure out my new camera, Pete asked me about my camera and I told him about it and the great deal that I got. I started to explain to him that I did not quite know how to use it right yet but would get there. He lit up and asked to see it. He went through it and said that I got a really good deal and showed me what he had done so that I got clear shots even when I was zooming. Then he took my picture. Offering to help me out back at the motel after our day was done.
It was Pete, doing something he loved, for a friend.
Then we had to zoom off, it was time to check out some government cameras.
I wanted to go get gas but did not have time, but being that it was government cameras for surveillance we assumed that they were close and just over a ¼ of a tank would get me there and back…NOPE! I ran out gas! YAY me. After we made it back to the motel that night, he told me to always top off my tank before leaving Burns as you never know where the day is going to take us and that he was glad that we were safe. Now I know the teasing side of Pete, I now would be asked every trip out if I have a full tank. I think I will be asked that every time I am doing something with them now. Hahaha
Something I saw of Pete…his HEART! You don’t fully see and feel that in his live stream, you can’t. He loves those people that he is close to, he loves his friends…he loves LIFE, FREEDOM and HIS COUNTRY!!!
He believes in what is right, what is good for everyone, not just himself…as a matter of fact Pete is very selfless.
When we went to the FBI compound to peacefully protest, Pete handled himself with such professionalism and such a great stance of right I was blown away. He actually had the FBI speechless. One agent in particular that we were talking to, considered Pete asking him to be constitutional a threat, that was just absurd and Pete made that known…he called for the sheriff, he was hung up on, Pete acted legally and lawfully. That is the way that I always saw him act. The other agent that he spoke to was very polite and receptive to what Pete had to say. I have that video posted on my Facebook page. Let’s just say I made sure that agent had a pocket constitution. Pete was proud of me.
One of the nights that I was there a box of sex toys was delivered to the participants in Burns. All of us that were there were making jokes and goofing, including Pete, but under it all you could tell it made him upset, that people were so blind, that they would waste that much money…that much time and effort to mock what people were doing for them. They proceeded to try to sell off these toys to make money. I don’t think they did though. Hahaha.
As my time in Burns, OR came to an end, I felt myself extremely sad as I felt that I was leaving family behind. Pete and Deb gave me a huge hug and told me to be safe and that they were so glad that I came and that they had gotten to know me.
Now I know this doesn’t really get into the heart of Pete Santilli…it is coming.
On my drive home, I was reflecting a lot. Wondering why I felt like I needed to be there, why I didn’t want to leave, why this place, and these people had embedded themselves into my heart and soul so deeply in such a short time.
The answer is, because they are REAL, they are TRUE, they are people that believe in what our country used to be and that it can be that once again, the way that God intended it to be, the way He guided our founding fathers to lay the groundwork. Pete is the voice of truth for them, Deb is his perfect balance, God intended this.
I knew I would be returning to Burns, not only for the promises I made to fellow patriots, but because that is where I felt the Lord needed me to be…4 days later, I am in my car headed south on I-5.
This time it is my husband going with me. We are going to be arriving in the early a.m. so the manager at the Silver Spur has given my key to Pete and Deb for my 4 a.m. arrival.
I did not have the apprehension this time, I felt like I was coming to visit family. I knocked on Pete’s door, even though it was 4 a.m. he greeted me with a smile and my key saying he was glad I was back.
After getting a few hours of sleep, Matt and I got up, hurriedly got ready and went to visit with Pete and Deb while they loaded up their truck. I brought the scarves that my step-daughter had made for them and Pete promptly put his on, as did Deb and Kenny.
Once again I found myself following Pete out for a press conference.
Only this time was different…we went out of Burns, down a back road, took another turn and then finally a right on to 205, the road leading to the Resource Center. Obviously things had ramped up here.
This was not a press conference though, Pete didn’t even know what it was until it happened, (something most don’t realize is Pete did not want to be a part of any of the security meetings that took place, he didn’t WANT to know what was going on behind the scenes, he got called when it was time to report on something…he was not in “the know”) it was a gathering of ranchers getting rid of the BLM. What a great day! Despite the protestors and the FBI agent that was playing a protestor that Pete so wonderfully called out.
I love the bravery of this man. You could see the happiness on Pete’s face. On everyone’s face at the significance of this event with the ranchers. Though Pete did not agree with the taking over of the refuge that was a moot point, what was happening, all the good that was coming from it, all the traction and education that was going on was a great thing, and he knows it. You can see it in sparkle in his eye. We all are smiling, but (I can not speak for others) I think we all feel a change is coming.
Pete left the Resource center to cover something and I stayed back to visit with Blaine, Melissa, Jon, Scotty, Jason P., LaVoy, Ammon, both Ryans, Carl, and some others that I wanted to catch up with, and of course Duane and Hellboy.
Later that day I caught up with Pete but only for a few moments as it had been a long day. To be honest with you, it is the first time I had seen him look tired. We said our goodnights to him and Deb and went to our room. When we let our Merlin out to go potty, there was a police officer behind Pete’s vehicle, I guess there were flyers going around town and they were looking for Brandon, so Pete, always watching out for people, got his gear and recorded the questioning of Brandon about the flyers.
Pete is the man that will put himself aside to watch out for you, after all look where he is now…for you, for me, for the constitution, for America as a whole. It isn’t about Pete Santilli.
The next day Matt and I visited the Resource Center again before leaving, I said my goodbyes and we headed out. I had to swing by the Silver Spur to say goodbye to Pete, Deb, and Kenny and let them know I would be back. Pete hugged me really tight and told me not to come back. That he loved me but not to come back. I thought it was very odd…but the tone of his voice told me he was dead serious. I hugged Deb and she said she was so glad that we came, she too told us not to come back, that we were pretty innocent in this all and we didn’t want to get caught up there when it got locked down. We hugged again and she said please don’t come back. Her voice too told me she was dead serious…I guess we all know now what they were feeling, what I was feeling on Saturday. It nagged me all the way home and everyday up to the day of the arrests and LaVoy’s murder.
When I watched Pete, my dear friend get arrested, I was shocked. He didn’t do anything to warrant it. To provoke it. He just did what we are all supposed to be able to do, talk. He spoke calmly and respectfully, worried yes, but he was perfectly polite and nice…he wasn’t even Pete Santilli media man, he was Pete Santilli concerned friend.
I know you are still saying, this doesn’t tell me much more about Pete than what I already know…well here you go.
I fell in love with Pete and Deb right away. They have open hearts, this is not saying they trust right away, and they have every reason not to with the business they are in. Pete’s heart for the people in his life is as big as they get, and his heart for his country is even bigger.
I know right now this moment, his heart is breaking at the fact his friend LaVoy is dead, that he was murdered and that he can’t help get the truth out. That the patriot community seems to be getting more divided than unified.
As I continue to help, and I will until I am told I can’t, I am learning more and more about Pete. I knew from my moments with him when he wasn’t “on” that he was a great everyday guy, with two dogs and a woman in his life that shared a great love with him. As I learn more, my heart grows bigger for this man that some just love to hate.
Pete loves music, not only to listen to but also compose and play, he is quite accomplished and plays many instruments. It is my full intent to harass him when he is free to play for me. Hahaha. He has two cockatiel birds that he adores along with his dogs Ginger and Cooper. He loves to do everyday things like go on walks and talk, go to his and Deb’s favorite bar and chat about the day over a Stella or two, watch a good movie, even window shopping at Guitar Center…though I have a feeling that is more of a touchy feely type of thing. He loves vaping, when he goes into a vape shop he makes new friends. He loves computer/camera tech. which is a given. He is now writing his memoir, which is a book I fully intend to buy. I am sure he has a wealth of life to share, rich with experiences and knowledge.
So before you write him off as a big loud mouth oaf who is just pushy to get to the truth, remember that Pete is a highly educated man with many facets.
He has a huge heart with an amazing capacity to love, he loves to laugh, he hungers for knowledge, and he lives for his loved ones and the truth. This is a man we all can be proud to call a patriot brother, a fellow American, even though he is these things, I just choose to call him my friend.