Nearly one week after the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, victims killed in the massacre are being laid to rest.
Nineteen of those killed during the massacre at Robb Elementary School – 18 children and one teacher – will be buried in custom caskets made by Trey Ganem of SoulShine Industries, based in Edna, Texas.
Ganem says he was contacted by the Texas Funeral Directors Association to make the custom caskets on the day of the shooting. He told CNN Monday that he and his 25-year-old son worked tirelessly to get all the caskets assembled, designed and delivered to funeral homes.
The caskets were purchased through a company in Georgia that worked for 20 hours straight to produce them, Ganem says. They arrived in Texas by early Friday; Ganem says he finished all 19 caskets over the holiday weekend, working nearly three days straight – and running on about six hours of sleep.
Ganem says he met with family members of the victims to curate customized designs and themes for each casket, ranging from softball to TikTok to Spider-Man. Marisol Gonzalez of SOLart Designs and Justin Watts of The Graphix House helped with graphics and decals for each casket, Ganem says.
“We don’t just put a vinyl wrap on top. We actually custom paint every single one. We take the casket completely apart, and we paint the hardware, we paint the bars,” Ganem told CNN. “The class and the passion that we put into these is bar none.”
Each casket costs between $3,400 and $3,800 to make, Ganem says.
While he has received a few donations, Ganem says his company has paid for nearly everything. “I didn’t even think twice when I was asked to do it,” he adds, “and God always takes care of us.”
Ganem says he first felt inspired to make custom caskets following the death of a friend, and started his business about 11 years ago.
Services for two victims of the Uvalde school shooting, 10-year-olds Amerie Jo Garza and Maite Rodriguez, took place at local funeral homes Monday.