NewsPositively Hampton Roads


People Taking Action: Local fitness club owner fights back tears when surprised with award!

Posted at 8:03 PM, Oct 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-24 20:03:51-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - We were looking for Sunshine! Sunshine Swinson, owner of Fit Bar in the Churchland section of Portsmouth.

Our News 3 camera spotted her during our surprise visit, on stage in the middle of an exercise class. She was stunned.

"Wait...wait. wait...a minute...okay. What's going on?!" she exclaimed.

I shared with Sunshine that it was a gym member, Katrinia Freeman, who sent me the following email:

Sunshine has been helping the community with donations of school supplies and offering free classes to local schools. Sunshine also advocates for breast cancer. She has organized many events and donated funds to local organizations.

Members like Katrinia also stress Sunshine is changing their lives too with an emphasis on exercise and healthy eating.

Katrinia also wanted to point out how resilient Sunshine is: About a year ago, Hurricane Matthew came through the business and flooding was bad. All the floors had to be pulled up. There was a considerable amount of damage, and Sunshine wasn't sure what was going to happen. Katrinia emphasized this in her email:

A few months ago she lost a lot of members due to flooding to one of the buildings,  but she did not let that stop her. I would like to honor Sunshine because without her I would not be here today.

For those reasons, News 3 presented Sunshine with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank, and a News 3 People Taking Action award as she fought back tears.

"Oh God, thank you, thank you," Sunshine said through tears. "Um, yeah. I'm a mess!"

Why is community service so important to her?

"We're just trying to be people in the community that actually are making a difference, so that's all I care about," she said.

Click here for more information on Fit Bar.