Father’s body found in Snake River Canyon
By Jeff Bishop
The Newnan Times-Herald
Lincoln County Wyoming Sheriff’s deputies confirm the body of 46-year-old Joel Fegarido of Newnan was found Friday about four miles downstream from where he was swept away last week.
Joel Fegarido, 46, jumped into the water in the Snake River Canyon during a family vacation to rescue his son from the strong current.
His church family, the Peachtree City Seventh Day Adventist Church, held out hope Fegarido would be rescued alive, but their worst fears were confirmed Friday night.
“Our kids go to school together at the Shoal Creek Adventist School,” in Sharpsburg, she said. “We also all go to church together.
“Joel was the kind of guy where, if you need something done, you could go to him, and he would always have a smile, and he was willing to do it himself or to help find somebody to do it,” she said.
Fegarido was a “real leader,” she said, and a man who “had all his priorities in order,” putting God and his family right at the top.
“You could tell by his character and by what he did in his life that God was his first priority, along with his family and friends. He was a constant source of encouragement to everyone who knew him.”
He got a chance to express his leadership abilities as chairman of the school board, she said.
“If you ever did anything he was always good about patting you on the back and letting you know you were appreciated,” she said. “He appreciated anything that people did for the school. He was just a really good guy.”
It was apparent that he “adored” his children, she said, so no one was surprised when he jumped into the river to save them.
“They were definitely the most important thing for him,” she said. “I’m sure he didn’t have a second thought about it.”
Until his body was found, she and other church members were “praying for a miracle,” Vanegmond said.
“We were praying that he would be found alive somewhere in the woods, but it wasn’t to be,” she said.
“But we still believe there is a purpose to everything that happens,” she said. “We serve a God who promises beauty from the ashes, and as a church family we are still praying for miracles to come from this tragedy. That’s the kind of God that Joel served here.”
The Fegaridos were on vacation at Yellowstone National Park with friends and family. Fegarido was an employee of Delta Airlines who operated his own local real estate business, Stellar Properties, on the side. He has been the school board chairman of the Shoal Creek Adventist School in Sharpsburg for approximately two years.
Fegarido dove into the Snake River Canyon to save his 10-year-old son, Joey. He was able to get Joey onto a rock where he was rescued by kayakers, but Fegarido was unable to get out of the river and was swept away. Search and rescue teams in Wyoming’s Lincoln County recovered the body about 1 p.m. local time Friday.
Family members in Newnan were contacted by search and rescue team members around 3 p.m. Friday about Joel’s recovery.
A fund has been established for the continued education of Joel’s children. Fegarido and his wife, Eva, have two children, Joey, age 10, and Jaime, age 7. Interested parties can contact any branch of the Delta Community Credit Union and ask for the Joel Fegarido Honorary Fund.