One Man’s Heartfelt Gift to the Town of Uvalde
On May 24, 2022, 19 students and 2 teachers were killed during a mass shooting that took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
The town of Uvalde, located around 80 miles west of San Antonio, TX, has a relatively small population of 16,122 according to the most recent census in 2020. When the panic from the shooting had settled and the pain and sadness moved into this small town hours after last Tuesday's tragic events it was quickly realized that Uvalde had another daunting task in front of them.
This small town now had to pay tribute to the 21 souls that were lost in this tragedy, 19 of them children. This wasn't going to be an easy task to do. However, one Texas man is helping out the only way he knows how to and that is by designing those 19 caskets. Kadia Goba, a BuzzFeed News reporter, spoke to Trey Ganem to find out why he was doing so much for this community.
Trey Ganem of SoulShine Industries stepped up to help these families in the worst times of their lives. He arranged to get the caskets that were needed so these beautiful children could have a proper burial and even went one step further and personalized them according to what interests the child had. In an interview with BuzzfeedNews, Ganem said
“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,”
According to Buzzfeed News, smaller caskets are not stocked in bulk so many were having a hard time finding the 19 that were needed. Ganem detailed the story to Buzzfeed's Kadia Goba, about how he reached out to a manufacturer in Griffin, Georgia to see if he could find the number of smaller caskets that were needed. The manufacturer agreed to fulfill the order but had to work 20 hours straight to make sure they were finished in time. Ganem was also able to secure transportation from Georgia to Texas, which took a total of 26 hours round trip.
This in itself is pretty unbelievable but Trey went one step further and painted each casket according to the child who would be buried in it.
“It has been an extremely emotional roller coaster for me,” Ganem said to Buzzfeed News.
And to top it all off Trey offered his services free of charge to the families.
“We’re here to try to make a hard time a little easier,” Billy Ganem, Trey’s son said to Buzzfeed News. “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.”