USE THIS LEDE INSIDEMeredith Cooper, of San Antonio, and her eight-year-old daughter, Heather, visit a memorial of 26 metal crosses near First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on Monday November 6, 2017. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Photo: Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman
Photo: Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman

Casket maker offers free service to families affected by church shooting

Trey Ganem was so heartbroken by the shooting at First Baptist Church that he is offering to make custom caskets at no cost for families affected by the tragedy.

Ganem, owner of Trey Ganem Designs in Edna, Texas, “was so sad. He said we had to do something,” said his personal assistant Tiffany Sublett.

Edna is located about two hours from Sutherland Springs, where a gunman walked into a church Sunday  and shot and killed more than two dozen members and injured at least 20 others.

The gunman,  26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, was later found dead in his car .

She said Ganem, who makes colorfully-designed caskets planned to meet with families  today. His company will pick up the cost of the first 15 caskets, she said. She said a business in a nearby town has offered to help with the costs beyond the first 15.

Victims ranged from 18 months to 77 years.

Ganem said “my heart is telling me to donate.”


First Baptist Church often posted videos of its services

7 ways to help the Texas church shooting victims and their families

The company made a video that is posted on its Facebook page.

“He was very taken aback,” Sublett said. “He needed to do something.”

According the company’s webiste, Ganem  was working as a hunting guide and providing taxidermy services out of the garage of his Texas home when he thought baout his funeral. He wondered what his casket would look like.

“ He thought about that plain metal box and knew he wanted more. He imagined a casket customized to represent his life and thought about something 'outside the box'. He asked himself, "What could I do to really make my casket represent my life?" 

 His company takes caskets to a new level to make a person’s “soul shine.” 

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