EDNA, Texas – A Texas man worked against the clock throughout the Memorial Day Weekend to make custom caskets for the 19 students killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24.
Trey Ganem, the owner of SoulShine Industries, a company specializing in custom caskets and urns, said he was contacted by a trooper and funeral directors to see if he could help.
“They know I deal with a lot of children and that I can make sure that things get done as far as doing customization and doing something special because this wasn’t your typical funeral arrangements,” Ganem, 50, said in an interview with “Good Morning America.”
Ganem’s company teamed up with a Georgia casket company to acquire the child-sized caskets, which were donated. Trucking companies delivered the caskets to Ganem’s team on Friday.
He said, in talking with the families and funeral directors, he was able to know what they wanted for each child.
One casket was painted a glossy blue and prominently features the bright red and yellow shield of Superman, DC Comics’ legendary superhero.
Another blue casket has a cheery green dinosaur chasing a green bat on its lid.
A third casket is coated in white paint with pink accents and includes a TikTok logo on top.
Ganem, who also made custom caskets for victims of the Sutherland Springs church shooting in 2017, said he feels that speaking with the families and parents of the children directly has started the healing process.
“We’re bringing light to this time,” he said. “When they start talking about a dinosaur holding a flashlight with a pickle, that’s gonna put a smile on your face. It’s kind of one of those things where we listen to what they have to say. We cry with them. We hug each other, but in the end, we make the most beautiful creation and the last resting bed for their loved ones.”
Ganem and his team rushed to complete the special caskets in time for the first visitations and funerals, which were held on Monday and Tuesday.
“Our emotions when we finished the last casket -- we all just looked at each other, and we started crying, and when you’re hugging, it was like, ‘We did it, and they all turned out beautiful.’ We did 19 caskets in three and a half days. But it was just a relief,” he said.