The Ronnie Horton Legacy Grocery Scholarship

Who was Ronnie Horton

Every person has the opportunity to make a difference


Everyone has a sphere of influence where they’re able to affect people and events. Some people become heads of state with the ability to change the course of history with one stroke of their pen. But, for the vast majority of us, our task is simply to make the most of the opportunities we have. For Ronnie Horton, his platforms were a grocery store and his family, and he used these opportunities to touch the lives of countless individuals. “What Ronnie wanted most was for everyone to succeed. He wanted them to be the best that they could be. And he led by example. That is his greatest legacy,” said his wife, Nancy Horton. 

Ronnie started working for Brookshire Grocery Company as a bagger when he was fourteen years old. The company saw potential in him and helped him fulfill his dreams of attending college, paying for his tuition, books, and living expenses. As Nancy puts it, “They believed in him, and in turn, he was loyal to Brookshire’s.” 

Over the course of his four decades with Brookshire, Ronnie came in contact with countless customers and employees. His ability to win the respect of those he worked with was a hallmark of his personality, leaving an immense impact on those who knew him well. “It was so weird to see how my dad could instill fear and respect simultaneously,” said his son Matt. “There was definitely an integrity about how he went about things; he was never overbearing.”

Ronnie embodied the concept of servant leadership, choosing to lead by example rather than from behind a desk. “Even when he got to the top if somebody spilled something on Aisle Ten at a store he was at, Ronnie knew where the mop was,” said Nancy. “He would go to the back room, get the mop, and clean the spill up. He would show that he was part of their team, and he loved helping them succeed.” 

Ronnie passed away from a brain tumor in 2003, leaving behind a legacy larger than his 55 years. Even as he climbed the corporate ladder, eventually reaching the role of senior vice president - director of retail operations in 2000, he never wavered from his commitment to helping others succeed. The Ronnie Horton Legacy Scholarship continues this legacy, even in Ronnie’s absence, ensuring that his impact will be felt for many more decades to come.

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About the Scholarship

Bill Kasko and Mike Cook were both hired by Ronnie Horton when they were in high school. Their careers took very different paths before merging once again. Bill founded Frontline Source Group, one of the fastest-growing executive search placement firms in the nation. Mike followed Ronnie’s lead and stayed at Brookshire’s for 32 years before joining Bill at Frontline as the Executive Grocery Retail Recruiter. The men reminisced over the impact that Ronnie had on their lives, with Bill recognizing that one of the keys to his success was following the example that Ronnie had set for him. “I would sometimes wonder what I was doing right other companies weren’t, and then I realized I was just following Mr. Horton’s lead,” Kasko said.

The two men agreed to set up a scholarship to honor Ronnie Horton’s legacy and carry on his work of helping people become the best that they can be. “We were able to secure a scholarship to help in sending two individuals to college in his name,” said Kasko. “Now we can announce the Ronnie Horton Legacy Scholarship to the world.” 

With the support of the NGA (National Grocers Association) Foundation, this scholarship fund for young grocery professionals will ensure that Ronnie Horton’s legacy and lessons will endure. As part of the application process, applicants are required to write an essay about a person who inspires them, much as Horton remains an inspiration to the many employees and customers whose lives he touched.

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