Miller’s-Hawkins Market (File Photo). 

ASHLAND -- The Ashland community rallied together on Friday in support of 14-year-old Jacob Shea, who was struck by a vehicle on Oct. 19 while out running. 

Miller’s-Hawkins grocery store held a Rib Fest from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in order to help cover medical expenses for the Shea family.

“Doing something like this for any family in need when something like this happens is an awesome community event for everyone to get together and show support for something that is of need,” Ashland resident Sandy Burkholder said.

Miller’s Hawkins typically tries to hold a rib fest once every few weeks for the last three years, but deli manager Jenny Holliday said Friday’s turnout was one of the largest that they have ever had. By 4:15 p.m., the store had sold out of 26 cases, the equivalent of 364 slabs of ribs. 

Employees of the store volunteer their time to cook and serve at the rib fest. They began cooking the ribs at 7 a.m. Friday morning. Before the day had even started, they had six cases (14 ribs to a case) of ribs already pre-ordered from community members looking to support the family.

Karen Graves said that one woman had purchased $263 worth of ribs right before lunch time.  She had to take them to her car in a packed shopping cart.

“The community is pouring out. They are calling in orders left and right that they want to come and get,” Graves said. “The community is great. Ashland is great.”

Graves said that after the cost of the ribs would be taken into account, she would expect to have anywhere from $2,500-$3,000 to donate to the family, on top of almost $1,000 in just donations.

Each rib fest, Miller’s-Hawkins chooses an organization that is in need or looks for an opportunity to assist in a tragic situation. When they heard about Shea’s accident, it was a no brainer.

“When that happened, a friend of mine posted it on Facebook about them and then I found out who it was so I did a little research and contacted Kelly (Jacob’s aunt) and told her we would like to do a rib benefit,” Holliday said. “Her response was overwhelming, she couldn’t thank us enough.”

Community members alike who either know or do not know the Shea family swamped Miller’s parking lot in support, as well as some of Jacob’s eighth grade teachers and other Ashland city school employees. 

“If this doesn’t show community support I don’t know what else could,” Burkholder said.  

Jacob Shea is currently being cared for at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.

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