PATRIOTISM: Lynn Burnett
After a distinguished career as an Army Ranger, this IBO has found new purpose in defending the American dream – through Amway.
When Lynn Burnett enrolled in the United States Military Academy at West Point at age 18 to join the Army, he didn’t know what to expect. While he came from a military background – his grandfather served in World War I, his great-uncles fought in World War II, and his father served in Korea and Vietnam – much of his family had been members of the Air Force, not the Army.
After a while, some difficult experiences at the Academy left Lynn questioning if the Army was what he wanted to do. “I was young,” he says. “I assumed that my experiences at the Academy represented exactly what the Army would be like after graduation. And at that time, I couldn’t see myself going through that for six more years.” So, in what he now describes as a moment of immaturity, Lynn dropped out of school and found a job at a local restaurant.
But a couple of years later he realized he wasn’t living up to his potential. He enlisted as a private and joined the U.S. Army Rangers. Lynn rose through the ranks during a distinguished 13-year career where he served in the 3rd and 2nd Ranger battalions. He was a machine gunner, platoon leader, combat patrol leader, Ranger instructor, and the first black Ranger officer in the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
For his humble service to America, Lynn Burnett is the recipient of the 2013 Amway Hero Award for Patriotism.
‘A patriot, but not a hero’
“I was willing to put my life in harm’s way to protect this country,” Lynn says, “to protect our freedom. As they say, ‘Freedom isn’t free.’ We have the obligation to protect it
with our lives, or our children will be in bondage. I never paid that cost, but I’ve risked it. I think a patriot is someone who does that.”
But despite risking his life, Lynn insists that he’s not a hero. “A hero is someone who dedicates their life to helping lift people up and allowing them to become greater than they could become on their own. Someone with selfless sacrifice, who changes the lives of other people.”
“It’s difficult to feel like I deserve this award,” Lynn says. “Mike Carroll? He’s a hero.” (Mike Carroll was awarded the 2012 Amway Hero Award for Patriotism.) “Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel are heroes. Their great-grandkids will know what they did. They’re leaving a legacy.”
Finding purpose again
After he left the military, Lynn spent time in corporate America, working as a financial manager at a company in Seattle. He had a desk, a 90-minute commute, and a 90-hour work week, but no higher purpose – until a client introduced him to the Amway™ opportunity in 1994.
Lynn had seen the Amway IBO Compensation Plan before, and had always turned it down. But this time, something spoke to him. “I’m a man of faith, so I don’t think I was led to this business by accident,” Lynn says. “I was introduced to it 19 times, and God said ‘I’m going to give this guy one more chance.’”
This time, Lynn took the chance – and thrived. Currently an Emerald, Lynn is in qualification for Founders Emerald and expects to qualify for his Diamond pin within a year. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Jo, and his two daughters, Grace (12) and Hannah (8).
For Lynn, the Plan was a way to regain the purpose he had felt when he was a Ranger. “I wanted to impact people’s lives in a positive way and serve my country again,” he says.
As an IBO, Lynn says he now has the time to volunteer with Jo and their daughters at their local USO, where they support soldiers and their families through activities like providing meals before deployment, organizing care packages, and recording messages and videos for loved ones.
“Since I can no longer serve,” says Lynn, “the next best thing is helping those that keep us free. It’s the least we can do for the people that put their lives on the line to preserve our freedom.”
Lynn also says his kids love being able to help out and say thanks. “It means so much that my kids are learning the importance of serving their country at such an early age,” says Lynn, “and the importance of giving back. I want them to continue the tradition of service that their great-grandfather started.”
I wanted to impact people’s lives in a positive way and serve my country again.” | Lynn Burnett
Amway and patriotism
“Amway: The name says it all,” he says. “When Rich and Jay started The American Way Company, they wanted to give others an opportunity to participate in the American dream.”
According to Lynn, people lose track of the American dream – they think it’s a house, a white picket fence, a dream car, and 2.3 kids. “The American dream is freedom,” he says. “That’s why people come here. That’s why this country was founded.”
But personal freedom is only one part of the American dream.
“You can have personal freedom, like we do in America, yet not have the economic freedom to take advantage of it. You need to have personal freedom and economic freedom. That’s what Amway is all about.”
“I’ll be in Amway for the rest of my life,” Lynn says. “This is all my wife and I want to do. To help people understand and engage, help them start the business and build it. It’s close to my heart.”