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Updated: October 27, 2023

#MaineStrong: Businesses flock to social media after mass shooting to share news, show support

Maine maps with hearts LinkedIn posts Variations of a map of Maine with a heart in place in Lewiston were all over social media following Wednesday's mass shooting.

In the wake of Wednesday's mass shooting in Lewiston and ongoing manhunt for the suspect, Maine businesses and business leaders flocked to social media to share news and show support for the victims, survivors and fellow Mainers.

Using hashtags including #MaineStrong and #LewistonStrong too, users posted messages and images, including several variations of a map of Maine with a heart in place of Lewiston. Several posted broken hearts after the tragedy that left 18 people dead and 13 injured.

Photo / BIW
Peyton Brewer-Ross

"All of us at Bath Iron Works are heartbroken to share that we have lost a member of our BIW family," the shipbuilder posted on LinkedIn Thursday. "We send our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of our employee Peyton Brewer-Ross, who was killed in Lewiston on Wednesday night.

"Peyton was a valuable part of our team, a member of the pipe shop test crew and recently assisted in the launch of Hull 523, Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124). Peyton completed the grueling coursework and on-the-job training of BIW’s rigorous apprenticeship program, graduating in 2022. He was hired just five years ago and was making a positive impact on our company. He will be sorely missed."

Six hours later, a message to staff: "2nd shift employees impacted by law enforcement lockdown should not report to work and should contact their Craft Administrator or Supervisor."

In Lewiston, Rinck Advertising, which closed Thursday during the shelter-in-place order, posted: “Our hometown and headquarters in Lewiston has suffered an unimaginable tragedy,

bruins jersey
X social media/Boston Bruins
A special jersey from the Boston Bruins hockey team.

"Our heavy hearts are with our city, the victims and their families and our brave first responders, law enforcement officers and health care providers," the message continued. “We don’t yet know what the days ahead will look like but we stand beside Lewiston as we heal together."

Besides the maps with hearts that seemed to multiply overnight, other images spoke volumes on social media.

The Boston Bruins hockey team, for example, posted a "Lewiston Strong" tribute jersey on Facebook in the team's black and gold colors, with the number "207," the statewide area code.

"Lewiston is on our hearts," the post said.

In Auburn, the city declared that "Community is Everything" on its official LinkedIn page, along with a “LEWAUB" logo for Lewiston and Auburn, and photo of a bridge over the Androscoggin River to show solidarity with its neighboring city. 

Social media post
The City of Auburn posted this image on LinkedIn to show its support for its sister city, Lewiston.

'Shocked, horrified and saddened'

There were also posts by individual business leaders, some of whom reflected on the fact that the tragedy touches everyone in Maine.

“The shooting in Androscoggin County saddens every member of the Kennebec Savings Bank team,” Andrew Silsby. president and CEO of the Augusta-based bank, said on LinkedIn.

“Our team is deeply rooted in the communities of Central Maine, and today, we grieve this unspeakable tragedy together,” he added. “Our hearts are heavy with sorrow. We stand with all those who have suffered in Lewiston and the surrounding communities.”

Urging people to stay safe and follow the guidance of local law enforcement and officials, he observed that “Maine is a community like no other, and the people of our great state lift one another up during difficult times. Today, tomorrow, and in the weeks ahead: we are here for one another!”

quote from Melissa Smith
WEX CEO Melissa Smith's message on LinkedIn was set against a black background.

WEX CEO and Maine native Melissa Smith posted that she is “shocked, horrified and saddened” by the tragedy and noted that many of the company's 1,200 employees in Maine call Lewiston home.

The company released third-quarter results Thursday morning that exceeded market expectations and lifted its full-year financial guidance.

And at workers' compensation insurer MEMIC, President and CEO Michael Bourque said his company stands ready to help customers and business partners through this terrible time. 

In a separate post, MEMIC said, “We strongly encourage you to prioritize your safety and well-being, and to reach out for any necessary mental health support,” directing Mainers to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and resources at

Other individuals took to social to express anger and frustration.

"THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN in other countries," author Stephen King said on X, noting that the shootings occurred less than 50 miles from where he lives and that he went to high school in Lisbon.

"It's the rapid-fire killing machines, people," he said in another post. "This is madness in the name of freedom. Stop electing apologists for murder."

Call to 'pull together'

Outside the social media realm, Nancy Marshall of Augusta-based Marshall Communications told Mainebiz she is grateful that a friend who was a shooting victim had surgery immediately and will fully recover.

"Maine is one big small town, as our U.S. Sen. Angus King likes to say,” Marshall said. “We are all connected in one big network of kind and thoughtful people. Although this event is beyond belief, it has also brought out the best in us.”

Putting on her media and marketing hat, Marshall noted that while social media can help weave us all together, it can also tear us apart when people are hateful or unkind online, "so it is definitely a blessing and a curse."

Her message to fellow Mainers after Wednesday's tragedy: "It is a reminder to tell people they matter to you, whether it’s your employees, your family and your friends. By showing love and appreciation, we will overcome the hatred and violence. I love this state so much. I want us to regain our position as the safest state in the nation. We need to pull together in a united front against violence and hatred.”

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