Gene started a nonprofit called “The Keys are at the Cross Prison Ministries” in 2002. Since then, he and a core group of volunteers have been involved in many different activities, predominantly in jails and prisons in northwest Missouri.
They hold “church services” and Bible studies weekly in several different facilities housing both males and female offenders. These are done in both large group settings and with individuals one on one. The ministry has a presence in all levels of incarceration from municipal jail, county jail, and minimum to maximum security prisons. The Keys have a reentry office in the Kansas City area that helps people get reestablished in society after incarceration.
As of February 2013, Rev. Purtle spends the majority of his time as the facility Chaplain for the Jackson County Detention Center and the Regional CorrectionalCenter in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. He oversees all the religious activity in those two facilities which numbers about 1000 inmates.