Remembering Evan Fitzgibbon: Florida Army Ranger candidate killed by falling tree in Georgia

Family and friends are mourning the loss of a soldier from Central Florida who died while training in north Georgia. Flags were lowered in Windermere and at Foundation Academy in Winter Garden in honor of 2nd Lt. Evan Fitzgibbon. 

Fitzgibbon and Staff Sergeant George Taber were killed by a falling tree during a storm at Yonah Mountain outside of Dahlonega. Both soldiers were pronounced dead at a hospital.  

Fitzgibbon was a West Point Graduate, commissioned in May 2021, but his accolades go back to his time at Foundation Academy. "Courageous, warrior, loyal, fun, stalwart," said Patti Cogburn, Foundation Academy.

2nd Lt. Evan Fitzgibbon

One former teacher, who is also a retired Naval Officer, said they bonded over their commitment to serve.  "I think the country, in general, is losing a great potential leader in someone like Evan and that's not hyperbole," said James Campbell.

Fitzgibbon was a member of the National Honor Society, Student Leadership Institute, and captain of the football team in 2017. 

"Fitz always stood out, even with all that talent on the team, said former Head Coach Brad Lord. "He knew he was undersized. Played with high gear and lived life that way." 


An 18-year-old Evan Fitzgibbon shows off his Certification of Appointment to West Point Academy. He would graduate in 2021 and enroll in Ranger School the following year. (Observer Media Group, Florida.)

Those who knew him said Fitzgibbon’s faith is what’s helping them get through each day.  

"His verse that he put in the yearbook was Proverbs 21:31," said Cogburn. "He would absolutely stand here today and say,‘Don’t be sad. I was victorious because God was victorious in my life.'"

His former football coach said he's set to meet with the Fitzgibbon family Thursday. He's survived by his parents, older sister, and new fiancée.