Texas school shooting aftermath: Casket maker and florist aim to heal wounds

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As the families of those lost in last week’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, continue to grieve, two Texas businesses are stepping up to do their part in helping victims’ families get through this extremely difficult time. 

Funerals began on Tuesday of this week after a gunman opened fire last Tuesday, May 24, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde — killing 19 innocent children and two teachers. 

Trey Ganem, owner of SoulShine Industries in Edna, Texas, made customized caskets for 18 of the 19 children killed at Robb Elementary, and one adult, free of charge.  

Meanwhile, Adrian Alaniz, owner of The Petal Express in Cuero, Texas, donated 22 casket sprays for all the victims of the shooting. 

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In addition, he donated a casket spray for Joe Garcia, the deceased husband of teacher Irma Garcia. 

Husband Joe Garcia suffered a fatal heart attack following his wife’s death. 

The aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. On May 24, 2022, a gunman opened fire inside the school, killing 19 student and two teachers. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills / AP Newsroom)

Despite the tragedy, these two small businesses are holding it together by doing their part to help in any way they can.

‘I started this business to help families’

Speaking to FOX Business about his critical work to help heal wounds of the heart and soul, Trey Ganem, owner of SoulShine Industries, said, "I was called after the shooting happened — and I have done this before for the Sutherland Springs shooting. I became friends with an officer there, he called me and said, ‘We got another — is there another way to help these families?'"

“If there is any way to make a difference, I wanted to be part of that.”

"Immediately I said yes," added Ganem. 

"I started this business to help families. I believe this is what I was led to do. I wanted to get down there and help these families."

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Ganem also said, "If there is any way to make a difference, I wanted to be part of that."

He said of the casket creations, "All of the designs come from us, but we talk to the families — they gave us the inspiration."

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, visits a memorial site with flowers on Thursday, May 26, 2022, to honor the victims killed in the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (AP Images)

"They told us their kid loved this and this — or she wanted to be this. That’s where we got our inspiration for the designs."

Ganem also said, "It’s heartbreaking and I get choked up talking about it, but it gives families a little bit of peace knowing we are doing something that represents their child."

“The hardest thing a parent has to do is pick out a casket for their child. We want to make it easy for them.”

"It helps start the healing process — and we feel the casket represents the fun things they liked to do."

Said Ganem as well, "The hardest thing a parent has to do is pick out a casket for their child. We want to make it easy for them. Each child was unique — and we wanted to express that."

‘We do the best we can’

Adrian Alaniz, owner of The Petal Express, told FOX Business, "The first thing I thought when I got that call was ‘not again' — immediately, ‘not again.’"

Flowers are shown at a memorial for the Uvalde, Texas, shooting victims. (The Petal Express / Fox News)

She added, "And all I could think about was that small community."

"Uvalde is a great little community," she also said. 

"I was shocked it happened in a little town like that. You never think it would ever happen."

Flowers, photos and memorial items surround this sign at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in the wake of the shooting on May 24, 2022. (The Petal Express / Fox News)

Alaniz added, "We are all emotionally drained at the shop. We do the best we can."

"We have done 18 child caskets and one adult, all free of charge to the families."

"Tears my heart in half making these little caskets," she also said. 

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"We treat every casket as if we were making it for one of our own family members. We want to pour everything into these caskets to represent their loved ones," she said.

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