The missing links
So after getting home yesterday I watched several youtube videos on how to install a front derailleur, then I tried to fix the front derailleur to no avail, even asked Reddit for help. After several hours, a shower and some home baked pretzels later, I decided to install back the links that Fig removed and voila!!! The darn thing worked, shifting from 1st, 2nd and 3rd and no chain rub whatsoever!!!
While I know the skills of the volunteers wouldn't all be the same, in the end Fig did provide me with the right part to install, and I guess it was a mad house that day with kids and everyone else trying to get shop time and use the shop tools that it was impossible for her to provide me with much help.
I'll definitely still come back next time to tune up my bikes and buy parts.
EDIT Mar 16 - so it seems I haven't fully fixed it yet, went on a ride tonight and the chain keeps shifting to a lower gear and I'm still having a hard time shifting up to the biggest chain ring. Will probably have to come back and reschedule my appointment for Saturday.