Aiken establishments are rallying around a young man, 13, who was shot at a Walmart on Whiskey Road earlier this week. People all over the United States took to social media after hearing about the incident to express their condolences to Ashton and her family.
Strangers are banding together to brighten up a bleak situation. People all over the country are showing their support for Ashton by using the hashtag #AshtonStrong on Facebook, but her friends and neighbors in Aiken especially want her to know she has their full backing.
If you search social media for Rickard’s name, you’ll find nothing but prayers. Max Watt, co-owner of Vikki’s A Unique Boutique, remarked, “I don’t think a minute went past the event that it was all over Facebook and my text messages.”
She has fans as far away as Oregon from states such as Florida, Alabama, Missouri, and Texas. In addition, she has her own network of friends and family back in Aiken. Vikki Woody, co-owner of Vikki’s A Unique Boutique, said: “I don’t know what it is about Aiken. I don’t know what the draw is or why it is tight. But Aiken comes together and supports.”
It may be little, but its spirit is tremendous. “As a small business, nothing is more important than giving to the community because they give back to you. It’s a child, it’s in our community. What are we going to do,” said Woody.
An option for charitable giving is “Fashion for Ashton” at Vikki’s Boutique. Alternatively, you may pick up a marker and make a get-well card. Dawn Billeci, owner of Soulshine Yoga and Wellness, said: “I always just want to do something. But you know, this was something. It was a start.”
Aiken has been #AshtonStrong from the start. “Messed-up stuff happens in the world every day. And there’s nothing that we can do about it. But we can make the best of every day find gratitude for something and share kindness with other people and lift other people up and come together as a community,” said Billeci.
If you want to stay on top of everything happening in California, read the California Examiner:
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Starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, you can drop off cards for Rickard at the American Legion Post 26 in Aiken, and on the following Saturday, 25 percent of sales will go to Rickard and her family at both Vikki’s boutique locations.
The Rickard family has posted on Facebook that she has around two more days in the intensive care unit and then about ten more days in a regular room. Otherwise, her loved ones report that she is doing fine.
Bookmark the California Examiner if you want the inside scoop on what’s happening in the Golden State as it happens.