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Springfield, MO

2017 40 Under 40 Honoree: Monica Horton, 38

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Monica Horton has had a willingness to build a dream from scratch, a deep desire to see lives touched, and a hope that her story and success teaches perseverance. Horton’s role as executive director of Music Therapy of the Ozarks is a labor of love. In 2015, Horton approached the organization’s founder with the offer to lead on a volunteer basis since no money was available to support a salary. In the time since, Horton has played an instrumental role in the organization’s growth. She also maintains a private therapy practice, is an adjunct instructor for Drury University and is active in a number of faith service groups.

What was your first job? I was hired as a drive-thru cashier at Taco Bell the day before my 16th birthday.

What’s your greatest regret? I regret that I did not meet Homer Boyd, founding member of the Ozarks-area quartet group The Philharmonics, before he passed away last year. I went to his “home-going” service to pay my respects.

What did you learn the hard way? Yard sales are not the most efficient way to raise money for a charity. The outcomes are far less than the work that goes into it.

When did you realize you had grown up? After my husband and I became landlords in 2007, our rental home was abandoned by the tenant, leaving us to pick up the pieces. The tenant didn’t pay the utilities, which caused the lights to get cut off and the meat left in the refrigerator to rot. It took us days to eliminate what smelled like a dead animal.

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