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About Us

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What's His Story?

Eugene "Gene" Porter 

In 1993, a then 17-year-old Eugene "GENE" Porter, was convicted of murder, a crime in which
he did not commit.


During this chapter of his life, "Gene" struggled with the conviction mentally, emotionally, and physically until eventually embracing the cards that he was dealt. Eugene will always remember that godforsaken moment, when the police showed up at his door accusing him of shooting
someone. Eugene acknowledges that, as an adolescent he had not made the best decisions. He
was involved in a few illegal activities; however, taking a person's life was never a thought. 

Prior to becoming incarcerated, Eugene had a strong relationship with God. He was a Muslim in
the Nation of Islam. He prayed 5 times a day. He had faith in Allah and his messenger The
honorable Elijah Mohammed.  However, Gene's relationship with God was lost when he went to
prison at 17 for a crime that he did not commit. Gene felt as if, by allowing the system to force
him to spend what seemed to be the rest of his life incarcerated, God had failed him.

While incarcerated, he was forced to grow into manhood at a faster rate inside the institutions
versus being in the free world.  This taught him not to take simple things in life for granted. For
example, smiling was difficult for many years due to the seriousness of certain situations in
prison. Gene's parole was repeatedly denied, but he stayed grounded. He used that time to read,
study and to obtain certifications that would ensure his success once released from prison. Gene
obtained his G.E.D and certifications including, Auto Mechanics/Engine Repair, HVAC,
Commercial Cleaning, and a Business Certification. Along with 30 college credits from
Southside Community College.

In 2012, after serving 18 years out of a 25-year sentence, Gene was released.  Gene was
nervous about being called a murderer, and did not want the false conviction to define who he is
as a person. Upon being release, Gene ensured to leave any lingering bitterness behind bars and
vowed that forgiveness is key moving forward. With that attitude, Gene has forgiven a lot of
people, which has made him a better person. Mainly the individuals who made false accusations
landing him in prison for all his young adult life. 


Eugene is adamant on shedding light on the trials and tribulations that have made him the man he
is today. It is a weight heavier than most people can carry, especially when "No one expects you
to make it" or the expectation is failure. While in prison, Eugene used the recreation yard to free his mind from the situation at hand. His actions planted the seed which would later blossom into S.T.R.ON.G Temple Fitness and Personal Training Center. 

S.T.R.ON.G Temple Fitness and Personal Training Center is a place where people from all walks of life, can come together from Emporia and surrounding areas to shape their body, mind, and souls. S.T.R.ON.G Temple Fitness and Personal Training is owned and operated by Eugene
"Gene" Porter. The acronym “S.T.R.ON.G” stands for ”Standing Together Relying ON God”.
S.T.R.ON.G Temple provides hands-on personal training, to reach individual goals each client
sets for themselves, in a group or individual training session.


S.T.R.ON.G Temple started as a mobile personal training and boot camp fitness provider in 2014, which lead to opening of a facility in 2016. While four walls provide increased comfort, stability and 24 hour fitness access, S.T.R.ON.G Temple continues to provide its mobile services. S.T.R.ON.G Temple
offers a variety of classes such as, hip-hop exercise, daily youth camps and boxing. S.T.R.ON.G Temple plays a major role in the community and the goal is to motivate and train
people in the direction of a healthier living lifestyle. 

Eugene loves training and educating his clients to ensure a healthier lifestyle. He has a
passion for mentoring kids and young adults to assist with deterring them from making decisions
that could affect them for a lifetime. The accomplishments and relationships that Eugene has
built has earned him additional titles such as Uncle, Coach, Trainer, and MR. S.T.R.ON.G
Temple.( Additional certifications include, Certified USA Boxing Coach and a Certified Life

Let’s Work Together

407 Halifax Street 

Emporia, VA 23847

Tel: 804-704-4787

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