Trey Ganem reveals how he made heartbreaking customized coffins for Uvalde school shooting victims
Trey Ganem's company Soul Shine Industries, which specializes in personalized caskets, was tasked with making coffins for the May 24 shooting victims
A Texas casket maker has revealed how he delivered customized coffins featuring images of dinosaurs, llamas, slime, the TikTok logo, basketballs, musical notes, and pickles to the families of Uvalde shooting victims as they begin burying the dead from last week's shooting tragedy.
Trey Ganem's company Soul Shine Industries, which specializes in personalized caskets, was tasked with making the coffins for the 19 children and two teachers murdered at Robb Elementary School on May 24. He was reportedly asked to make 18 of the 19 caskets for the children, and one of the two adult coffins. While Ganem normally charges $3,400 for the caskets, he decided to donate them to the victims' loved ones in light of the tragedy.
Speaking to BuzzFeed, 50-year-old Ganem said he was initially approached by someone at the Texas Funeral Directors' Association. The death toll was unclear at the time, but it was clear to him there had been a disturbing tragedy. "I think there were 17 at the time that he knew of, and he wanted to know if I would be able to help out and make sure that all these kids have, you know, some personalization," Ganem said.
Soul Shine Industries, based in Edna, Texas, does not maintain a large inventory of small caskets, and so Ganem had to specially order them from a Georgia-based company. He told Buzzfeed that the manufacturer worked for 20 hours straight to ensure they were made in time, before one of Ganem's friends hired a Texas-based trucking company to make the 26-hour trip from Texas to Georgia and back to Texas.
Meet the TX man who’s making customized caskets for each of the 19 young victims and two teachers from the school shooting in #Uvalde. Trey Ganem visited with the families last week so each casket is personalized to include each child's interests.— John-Carlos Estrada (@Mr_JCE) May 31, 2022
📷: SoulShine Industries pic.twitter.com/eeoOZHcrfF
The delivery finally arrived at 2 am on Friday, May 27. Ganem and his son Billy worked relentlessly to get the caskets ready, with the help of several people who volunteered to help. "We're here to try to make a hard time a little easier," 25-year-old Billy Ganem told the outlet. "There's nothing we can really ever do to make it easier, but that's our goal: to help the families start their grieving and their healing and just try to make something special for them." Ganem's crew made the first 220-mile trip to Uvalde by Saturday, May 28. "It has been an extremely emotional roller coaster for me," Ganem said. "I don't even know if you can hear my voice. I haven't hollered at all, but I'm losing my voice, for whatever reason."
The funerals for school shooting victims begin in Uvalde, Texas, as the town mourns the loss of 19 children and two teachers. pic.twitter.com/vfqm2GKtYR— DW News (@dwnews) May 31, 2022
Little Eliahana Torres, 10, lost her life in the horrific shooting on May 24. Her mother Sandra Torres told Buzzfeed she thought of all the things her daughter loved, including llamas, the TikTok logo, and a splash of neon yellow slime that symbolized her passion for softball. "She would tell me that she needed glue for school because she had a big ole project to do, and the glue would be to make slime," the devastated mother reminisced. "She drove us crazy with the TikTok." Ganem said the casket requests had been "touching and amusing," noting how there was "one that wanted dinosaurs, with flashlights, holding a pickle."