March 2, 2017 by Joanna Li for InsideEdition
A Washington man who died suddenly is being honored with a casket, which was handmade by his family as a salute to his legacy.
Siblings of Scott Nielson, 46, gathered in the back of a Vancouver Home Depot a day before his funeral last Friday to build him a casket.
”Whether it was staining, drilling holes, or the final layer of fabric, we all took part,” Scott’s brother, Kent Nielson said.
For his surviving family members, it was a way to honor his lifetime of work in construction, and a way for them to come together to grieve their loss.
"It was a great way to say goodbye to Scotty," said Julie Bradfield, his sister, who helped out with staining the wood. "We were able to pour our love for our brother into it."
"When we found out he passed away, we were sobbing and talking about everything we had to do," Scott’s other sister Trish Mataele told InsideEdition.com. "I mentioned how cool it would be if we built his casket. He was a contractor, and pretty much all of us in the family had worked with him one time or another."
Trish explained their entire family was involved with building and construction, and they believed it to be a good chance for the entire extended family to work together, and share stories about their late brother.
As their plan gained momentum, their local Home Depot, at which Scott had been a familiar face for the past decade, volunteered to provide the building venue and gifted the family all the materials they would need.
Julie explained, "They were like family to Scott."
"Home Depot said, 'On us,'" Trish explained. "They basically said, 'Use whatever you need, and you can build it here.'"
She explained Scott had passed away without life insurance, and the store’s generosity helped the family afford the funeral their brother deserved. In addition to more than $500 worth of wood and stains, Home Depot also gifted the family about $100 in flowers.
Employees at the store who had known Scott also came by to help, sharing different stories they remembered about him along the way. By the end, everyone who had known Scott was able to contribute to the casket.
"It was obviously a tragic situation," Trish said. "But to be able to bring all of us together and share our talents and gifts to give Scotty what he deserved, it helped us through the grieving process.”
To donate to the family’s funeral expenses, visit their GoFundMe page.