19 custom caskets designed, delivered to Uvalde elementary school shooting victims

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 7:54 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - SoulShine Industries out of Edna, Texas has delivered 19 custom caskets to Uvalde as funerals get underway for the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting. The owner, Trey Ganem, tells KCBD it’s not the first time they have provided the service in the aftermath of a mass shooting, like in Sutherland Springs, but this experience was unlike the others.

“All I could think about was the church shooting except these were all kids,” Ganem said. “I couldn’t understand why somebody would do that.”

He said the work has been nonstop since he received the request from the Texas Funeral Directors Association after the shooting and a lot of people came together to make it happen, including Cherokee Casket Company out of Georgia, the drivers that brought them to Edna and the The Graphix House in Boerne that helped with the designs.

“The people that were helping us have been fantastic but it’s a lot of things that people don’t realize that’s behind the scenes that make this work, especially doing that many that fast,” Ganem said. “I was back there with my son Billy who was doing the painting and back up at the front of the shop and making sure that the pieces get sanded correctly. We were talking to the families and going back to design, proofing the design. It’s something that I don’t wish on anybody but I’m so glad that we’re able to do that and to make these perfect for the families.”

He said one of the young girls killed wanted to be a marine biologist so the design on her casket included whales and dolphins.

“We paint each piece individually to make these things just as beautiful as possible,” Ganem said. “A lot of people are always asking me if they can say this is beautiful, since it’s a casket. Yes, 100 percent you can say that it’s beautiful because it’s just like the person in it. We want to represent them the best way that we can.”

He hopes that reflection of the person continues to shine with their soul and that the service can help provide healing for the families in mourning.

“It’s why we do this,” Ganem said. “It’s not about painting a casket. It’s about representing that person and bringing light into a dark time.”

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