As the world continues to process the horrific school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, one Texas craftsman made it his mission to help comfort the grieving families of the victims.
Trey Ganem of Edina, Texas decorated custom caskets free of charge for 18 of the children and one of the teachers who were murdered during the mass shooting.
Ganem worked with another family owned company, Cherokee Child Casket Company of Griffin, Georgia. Owner Michael Mims provided 17 of the 19 caskets needed with several in custom colors to make Ganem's customized decorations easier to apply and in special sizes for the smallest victims of the tragic murders.
Mims and Ganem met years prior at a funeral director's trade meeting.
"After years of friendship, we've been sending him caskets for years."
"He's very artistic, very fine gentlemen."
You can see local news coverage here:
Once built, the 17 coffins were shipped from Georgia to Texas where Ganem and his team worked around the clock to get them all ready.
News Nation also reported on Ganem's efforts.
Ganem, who decorates made-to-order coffins through his company SoulShine Industries, reached out to the families of the victims, offering his services for free and designing individual coffins based on the victims' likes and interests.
Among the families Ganem met with was the family of Eliahna Torres, who's mother Sandra told BuzzFeed News her daughter loved Llamas, softball and TikTok videos, particularly those which teach you how to make slime.
So Ganem designed a coffin for Eliahna with Llamas, the TikTok logo as well as a splash of yellow slime.
Being a relatively small town with limited resources, the funerals of 21 people, 19 of them children, was a large and daunting task for Uvalde, Texas.
With that in mind, Ganem wasted no time in immediately jumping on the request for help from the Texas Funeral Directors Association.
Coffins made for children are rarely made in bulk. Mim's team at Cherokee Child Casket Company worked non-stop for 20 hours to ensure the orders would be ready on-time.
Then, Ganem's friend Bubba Hoffman arranged for a trucking company to make the 52-hour round trip from Texas to Georgia, with the coffin's arriving at 2 AM on Friday, May 27.
Ganem and his son, Billy, got right to work.
And though it's usually only the two of them running the operation, this time they had the help of at least a dozen volunteers, not all of them local, who helped complete eight of the caskets by the following day and the rest two days later.
Ganem shifted from designing custom cars to custom caskets in 2016.
Just one year later, Ganem found himself designing 26 custom made caskets following a shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
As Billy told BuzzFeed News, he and his father were left physically, and emotionally, exhausted following both shootings, but the payoff in helping these grieving families makes all the hard work and effort worth it.
"We’re here to try to make a hard time a little easier.”
"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."
People appreciated the efforts made for the grieving community of Uvalde.
The funerals for the victims of the shooting began earlier this week in Uvalde, with some of the local churches and funeral homes now booked until mid-June, though the families of the victims are not being charged for the services.
Ganem's custom made caskets sell for roughly $4,000.
But as Ganem told NewsNation, he hopes he, his son and all who helped make these custom caskets offered more than financial relief for the families, all of whom suffered an unimaginable loss.
"I'm taking a little bit of the sting out of what has happened, and we're doing something and we're creating the last thing that the parents can ever do for their child."
"And we're making it with passion, and purpose and we put all of our heart and soul into this thing."
"My company is called SoulShine, and that's what we do, we let their souls shine."