J.R. Martinez is officially a household name as he went on to win the title for season 13 of Dancing With the Stars last night. J.R., a former US Army soldier, has inspired the entire nation with his story of recovering from a landmine explosion in Iraq during 2003. J.R. is known for overcoming great obstacles, and his title win on DWTS was no different.
This former actor, on ABC’s All My Children, and passionate motivational speaker took America’s heart by storm, proving time and time again, that no mountain is too high. Late this season, he developed a nagging ankle injury that became such a concern that his partner Karina Smirnoff was worried with tears about their performance.
However, when he and Smirnoff were announced as this season’s winner, there was nothing but tears of joy. J.R. proved once again his ability to fight back and overcome odds saying, “First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who voted for us for 10 weeks. Thank you, America, for believing in us.” The competition was tough, but in the end, it was J.R. Martinez holding up the trophy in the rain of confetti.
Without a doubt, the sky’s the limit with J.R.’s future–as opportunity will surely knock many times over. Not only did he prove his dancing skills to America, he has become a beacon of hope for the many men and women who sacrificed their lives or are recovering from injury during their military service. His appearance on Dancing With the Stars will surely make him one of the most in-demand speakers for this coming year, deservingly so, allowing his inspiring story to be heard. And that is beyond any trophy.
For more information about how a motivational speaker like J.R. Martinez can impact your event, contact Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau at 1.800.345.5607.
More about J.R. Martinez.
Jose Rene Martinez was born on June 14, 1983 in Shreveport, Louisiana. As a boy he dreamed of becoming a professional football player, but suffered a sports injury his senior year of high school, that cut that dream short. So J.R. went in search of finding another dream. After being captivated by a commercial for the army, he sought advice from his high school football coach. And after a visit from an Army recruiter, he proudly decided to serve.
J.R. started his basic training in September of 2002. In January of 2003, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division; and was deployed to Iraq that March. While in Iraq, J.R. served as a Humvee driver, and on April 5th (less than a month into his deployment) his left front tire hit a land mine. As the vehicle began to burn, J.R. was the only soldier that was trapped inside, but was pulled out and saved. But he suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body. He was evacuated to a local medic station in Iraq and then Landstuhl, Germany, for immediate care. J.R. spent 34 months at BAMC, and underwent 33 cosmetic and skin graft surgeries.
But it was during his recovery that J.R. discovered a new way he could serve. After one of the nurses asked him to speak to a very withdrawn burn patient, in just 45 minutes — J.R. reached him when no one else could. It was in that moment that he decided that he was going to use his experience to help others. So he started infecting other patients with his optimistic attitude by sharing his story and listening to theirs. Since then, J.R. has become a highly sought-after motivational speaker, traveling the country to spread his message of resilience and optimism. He speaks to large corporations, veterans groups, non-profits, and schools. His speaking programs are not only inspirational, but he teaches acceptance, respect, and the importance of paying it forward.
J.R. Martinez continues to be an American inspiration on several fronts. He was the winning contestant on Season 13 of Dancing with the Stars on ABC. He continues to do extensive charity work along with many speaking engagements. He also had a role on the Emmy Award-winning daytime drama, All My Children. J.R. still believes in making the most of every situation, and is a firm believer that “everything happens for a reason.” J.R. credits all of his life experiences, for his success.
Additional biographical information written by Alexis Washington.