STAUNTON Va. (WHSV) - When Bobby Fitzgerald disappeared in 2012, the news left the staff at the Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA shocked and concerned.
According to the organization on Noth Coalter Street, Fitzgerald was a member who visited the facility daily.
Fitzgerald went missing nine years ago while returning to the Shenandoah Mountain’s Confederate Breastworks Trail to get a cell phone he lost on a hike.
“I just remember thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, I hope everything’s OK with Bobby,’” said Rhonda Shinaberry, associate executive of the Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA, said in a press release. “I remember members who were here in the building having the same conversations, trying to figure out if there’s anything we should be doing to help.”
On Tuesday, the Staunton-Augusta YMCA announced that April 20 will be ‘Bobby Fitzgerald Day.’
The organization said his family decided the reward money raised for information about him will be dedicated to the Staunton-Augusta YMCA.
“My reaction to what the family wanted to do was, ‘That’s amazing,’” Shinaberry said. “My reaction to the whole thing is that this feels so final.”
The organization chose April 20 to be ‘Bobby Fitzgerald Day’ because it is his birthday.
“I just remember how quiet he was, how soft-spoken he was, and how kind he was,” Shinaberry said. “He’d always come by my door on his way back to the locker room or where he was going and wave.”
There will be a short ceremony at the Staunton-Augusta YMCA at 11:00 a.m. on April 20 to commemorate his life.
“We’re just remembering how important Bobby was,” Shinaberry said. “He was very important to us.”
In 2017, five years after Fitzgerald went missing, the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office and Staunton Police Department wanted anybody with information about Fitzgerald may be located to provide more information. At the time, investigators were planning to reinterview people who knew Fitzgerald or were involved in the case. In 2017, it was reported there was a $50,000 reward for information leading to his whereabouts.