Artist Creates Custom Caskets for the 19 Child Victims of the Uvalde Mass Shooting

A custom casket maker is helping the victims of the Uvalde mass shooting be peacefully laid to rest. Trey Ganem is the owner of SoulShine Industries, a company specializing in caskets that are painted to reflect the deceased individual's interests and personality. Ganem used his creative skills and caring heart to work with family members in Uvalde to memorialize their slain loved ones.

Ganem was asked for his support by someone at the Texas Funeral Directors Association after the massacre left 21 people dead—including 19 children. “I'm on my way to help families in this tragic time,” he wrote on the SoulShine Industries Facebook page. “This is something no family should ever have to deal with. My love and emotions are already there.”

Ganem and his son Billy, who works with him, poured their hearts into doing what they could for the families. It presented a logistical challenge, though. There was a shortage of child-sized caskets at Ganem's business, so he was forced to order them from a manufacturer in Georgia—nearly 900 miles away. The manufacturer worked for 20 hours straight to get his order ready on time. A trucking company put in the same hours, driving for over a day to deliver the caskets to the SoulShine shop.

Once the caskets arrived at 2 a.m., it was all hands on deck. Ganem and Billy got to work along with as many as a dozen volunteers who helped paint, sand, and apply vinyl to the caskets. Ganem used his creative expertise to personalize the boxes for 19 of the 21 victims.

For Eliahna Torres, one of the young victims, the design included llamas, the TikTok logo (Torres was a big fan), and neon yellow slime, the common color of a softball which was also a passion of hers. “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,” her mom, Sandra Torres shared. “She drove us crazy with the TikTok.”

Ganem’s services can range from $3,400 to $3,800, but the families of the Uvalde mass shooting victims paid nothing–it was all donated time and materials. Beyond the financial concerns, however, SoulShine Industries saw their efforts as a chance to help the families pay tribute to their unique children whose lives were taken far too soon.

SoulShine Industries is a company specializing in caskets that are painted to reflect the deceased individual's interests and personality.

The company, owned and led by Trey Ganem, used the artist's creative skills and caring heart to work with the family members of the victims of the Uvalde mass shooting.

Ganem created custom caskets for 19 of the 21 victims—all free of charge.

The effort posed some logistical challenges, but thanks to dedicated volunteers, SoulShine Industries was able to complete all of the caskets.

SoulShine Industries: WebsiteFacebook | Instagram
h/t: [BuzzFeed]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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