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Texas artist donates custom caskets for Uvalde victims

SOUL SHINE INDUSTRIES

soulshine_industries | Instagram | Fair Use

Sarah Robsdottir - published on 06/02/22

"We don't just paint caskets here; we represent the lives of the people who have passed."

Trey Ganem of the casket company SoulShine Industries in Edna, Texas, and his 25-year-old son Billy Ganem raced against the clock last week to create 19 highly customized caskets for the victims in the Uvalde school shooting: 18 of the 19 children and one adult.

“No family should have to bury a child,” Trey Ganem said in an interview with NBC Dallas Fort Worth, “We don’t just paint caskets here; we represent the lives of the people who have passed.”

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Ganem described himself as just one of many volunteers from the local funeral industry who donated time and effort to memorialize the victims of the recent horrible tragedy. He explained that the first challenge was met by his Georgia-based manufacturer who worked 20-hours straight to create enough child-sized caskets (this high number of small caskets is rarely kept stocked).

After that, a trucking company was hired to drive the 26-hour round trip in order to bring the caskets back to Ganem’s workshop in Texas.

The delivery arrived at 2 a.m. Friday. By that point, Ganem had interviewed families of the victims in order to create Superman, Star Wars, and TikTok dance-themed caskets (to name just a few).

And while Ganem and his son Billy Ganem — both former custom car detailers/painters — typically work alone, they had volunteers working with them non-stop, sanding, decaling and painting the caskets; each volunteer only caught a few hours of sleep until the caskets were delivered on Saturday and Sunday.

“We’re here to try to make a hard time a little easier,” Billy Ganem, 25, explained in an interview with News Nation, “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.”

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