Rita Loy Simmons, T.C. and Rita Shook Horton Foundation
Born on Frost Road, Rita Loy Simmons has deep roots in the East Mountain community. Her parents, Tom and Rita Horton, were prominent citizens and started the water system that is now the Entranosa Water and Wastewater Association. Having left a big impact on the community, they started the T.C. and Rita Shook Horton Foundation to continue their legacy of helping the community into the future. The Foundation is now administered by Simmons, her sister Sharron Geilenfeldt and her brother, Tom Horton, Jr.
According to Simmons, “My parents had a philosophy of stewardship. In everything they did, they were always thinking about how to help the community. Our family ethic was to work hard. They trusted that if they had an idea, the wherewithal would follow.” Besides starting the Entranosa Water Corporation, Tom Horton also worked for Central New Mexico Electric bringing electricity to the Sandia Knolls, built properties for the Presbyterian Board of National Missions and farmed and ranched his own property. Every step of the way, his wife Rita was right by his side. “They were truly partners,” said Simmons.
Horton, who attended the Menaul School, always valued education. “He was a poor farm boy,” said Simmons, “and sometimes he paid the tuition with a bag of beans and a side of beef.” Later, he became a staff member at Menual and helped build teacher housing with the help of his students. “I think my dad would be proud to be supporting East Mountain High School,” said Simmons. “He believed that a great school was small enough to inspire community and engaged students in hands-on learning.”
Thanks to the gift made by the T.C. and Rita Shook Horton Foundation, over thirty East Mountain High School students this year are receiving scholarships to participate in the sort of hands-on learning experiences that inspired Tom and Rita Horton to change the community in which we live.