Dale King’s Gym Shines as Beacon of Hope in Portsmouth’s Battle Against Addiction


Moved to action, Dale King established a CrossFit gym, aiming to support those battling addiction and those connected to them.

Dale King's Gym Shines as Beacon of Hope in Portsmouth
Dale King’s Gym Shines as Beacon of Hope in Portsmouth ( Photo: NewsNation )

Dale King, a former Army veteran, returned to his struggling hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio in 2010, witnessing the devastating impact of drug addiction

Portsmouth, once an industrial powerhouse, had succumbed to the opioid crisis, earning the grim moniker of the “pill mill” of the United States. Dale King’s gym, known as the Portsmouth Spartan Kettlebell Club, emerged as a beacon of hope in the community.

In 2018, Dale King joined forces with a nonprofit health agency to offer fitness classes to individuals seeking recovery. Recognizing the profound story unfolding, filmmakers Chase and Spencer Millsap embarked on a documentary project, capturing the struggles and triumphs of gym members. “Small Town Strong” is a poignant portrayal of the opioid epidemic’s impact, juxtaposing news footage of the crisis with intimate moments inside the gym.

Dale King’s approach hinges on fostering a sense of belonging and community, a vital element in the recovery process

The documentary reveals the transformative journeys of many gym members, illustrating the arduous battle against addiction. Tragically, the film captures the loss of three individuals to overdoses during its production, underscoring the gravity of the epidemic.

Despite the challenges, Dale King and his team remain steadfast in their mission. The film underscores the resilience of Portsmouth, echoing the sentiment of revitalization observed in the town. In the face of adversity, Dale King’s gym stands as a symbol of hope and healing in a community fighting against addiction.


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