Mother of the Year Burnett’s humor, positive attitude contagious

Published 10:12 am Monday, May 9, 2016

Betsy Burnett has been called the rock that holds her family together and caring and supportive, and she does it all with a positive outlook.

“Life is full of ups and downs, it’s how you roll with it,” Burnett said.

Betsy Burnett, who was recently named Port Neches Mother of the Year, feels she is one blessed woman through faith, family and friends and can always find something to be thankful for even if she has to dig deep to find it.

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These attributes aren’t lost on those who know her. In fact, nine of her family members and friends submitted letters nominating her for Port Neches Mother of the Year, a title she won recently.

Daughter Brittney Burnett Williamson described Burnett as a mother and a friend who holds the family together and is always there to give advice.

“But you better not ask if you don’t want to hear what she has to say,” Williamson said in the letter.

Williamson quoted from Proverbs 31:29, “many women do noble things but you surpass them all.”

Burnett has been a pre-kindergarten aide in Port Neches-Groves Independent School District for 17 years and loves what she does.

“I love my job. There’s never been a day that I didn’t want to come here,” Burnett said of her job at West Groves Education Center.

Daughter Meagan Burnett Williams said in her letter that she cannot count the number of times she has heard stories of how her mother had been kind to their child or how she always had a word of encouragement or a smile that brightened their day.

Staci Gary, elementary curriculum coordinator at PN-GISD, was happy to learn that Burnett was honored as mother of the year.

“Betsy is a huge asset to our learning center. She always has a smile on her face and a positive attitude along with it,” Gary said. “Just as her personal children are grateful for her, we are grateful for the support she brings to the children she serves. She is very special to many people.”

Betsy Burnett, center, poses for a photo with her children after being named Port Neches Mother of the Year. Courtesy photo

Betsy Burnett, center, poses for a photo with her children after being named Port Neches Mother of the Year.
Courtesy photo

Her son Bryce Burnett described his mom as supportive, caring and encouraging, adding that his parents put all three of her children through college.

Betsy Burnett has seen loss and sadness in her life. She married her sweetheart Riley Burnett right out of high school and they soon began a family together. Then in 2003 Riley Burnett was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy, a rare disease.

“He was sick for 13 years but it took the first six years to get a diagnosis,” Betsy Burnett said of the degenerative neurological disorder she described as a cross between Lou Gehrig’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Burnett stayed at his husband’s side, acting as wife, caregiver and nurse and never complained, her children said.

“I didn’t mind it at all and would do it all over again in a heart beat,” Betsy Burnett said. Riley Burnett died just five months before their 30th wedding anniversary in July 2010.

Sadness struck again with the death of her sister, Belinda, in 2014.

Burnett laughed as she spoke of how one of her catchphrases — “OK, here’s the deal” — was mentioned in the nomination letters.

“My kids know that when I say OK, here’s the deal, I’m about to say something profound and you better listen,” she said.

Burnett is one proud mama to her children and nana to her grandchildren. Through her life she has been a dance mom, a sports mom and a homeroom mom among other unofficial titles. She smiles a lot and laughs a lot.

“I’m a positive person, you just have to be,” she said. “I lead with humor and love and think my children have followed my lead and that I’ve been a good example. I’ve been blessed with great friends and family.”


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