Support flows from Aiken businesses for young shooting victim

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 10:54 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Businesses in Aiken are showing support for a 13-year-old recovering after being shot at the Walmart on Whiskey Road earlier this week.

After news broke of the shooting, strangers from across the United States started flooding social media, sending their support to Ashton and her family.

Complete strangers are coming together to bring a little light into this dark situation.

All over Facebook, the hashtag #AshtonStrong is getting the attention of folks across the country, but the folks in Aiken especially want her to know she’s got an entire support system behind her at home.


Type in Rickard’s name on social media and every post is a prayer.

“I don’t think a minute went past the event that it was all over Facebook and my text messages,” said Max Watt, co-owner of Vikki’s A Unique Boutique.

She’s reached people in Florida, Alabama, Missouri, Texas, all the way to Oregon. And of course, she’s got her own support system at home 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’s a small town with a big heart.

“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.

“Fashion for Ashton” at Vikki’s Boutique is one way to give. Another is simply picking up a marker and writing 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.”

From the very start, Aiken came together as #AshtonStrong.

“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.

On Thursday afternoon, you can stop by the American Legion Post 26 in Aiken to drop off cards for Rickard starting at 5 p.m., and next Saturday at both Vikki’s boutique locations, 25 percent of sales will go to Rickard and her family.

Rickard’s family says on Facebook she is looking at two more days in the ICU and roughly 10 more days in a regular room after. Otherwise, her family says she is doing great.