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J.R. Martinez        

Actor, Best-Selling Author, Motivational Speaker, Advocate & Wounded U.S. Army Veteran

Jose Rene Martinez is an American actor, motivational speaker, and former U.S. Army soldier. After high school, J.R. Martinez joined the army. In September of 2002, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. In March of 2003, Martinez was deployed to Iraq. On April 5, he was driving a humvee in Karbala when his front left tire hit a roadside bomb. The three other soldiers were ejected from the burning vehicle, but Martinez was trapped inside. He suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to 34 percent of his body.

He spent 34 months in recovery at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC/SAMC) in San Antonio, Texas. He has undergone 34 different surgeries since his injury. Since then, he’s traveled the world as a motivational speaker. Martinez has had the privilege of speaking with troops at various bases around the world, as well as serving as the keynote speaker for Delta, Wells Fargo, Verizon, State Farm, General Motors, Red Cross and numerous other Fortune 500 companies, Nonprofits and Universities. His story may be unique, but his message is universal; change isn't bad if you are willing to adapt. Your path in life is decided by your own ability to Adapt & Overcome.

Many may remember Martinez as “Brot Monroe,” a combat veteran who was injured in Iraq and returned home to face the new challenges of reintegrating to civilian life, on the Emmy Award winning ABC Daytime drama "All My Children."

After "All My Children" ran its final season in 2011, Martinez went on to surprise and inspire a nation as a contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Along with partner Karina Smirnoff, Martinez won the coveted mirror ball trophy, and they were named season 13 champions. Later, Martinez co-starred on the syndicated action series, "SAF3" (CW Network). He also guest starred in the season 6 finale of Lifetime’s "Army Wives."

He has been featured on many shows, such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 Minutes, Ellen, The View, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, CBS Nightly News, CNN, Fox News, HLN, and Univision. He narrated the CNN documentary series "In America: Vets Wanted?" He’s served as a guest host on The View and ultimately hosted his own radio show, The J.R. Martinez Show, on KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles.

He has also been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times, US Veterans Magazine, and was featured on the cover of People Magazine, and in their annual Sexiest Man Alive issue, and was also named one of their Most Intriguing People of 2011.

Martinez is the author of the New York Times best-selling book "Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit," a memoir about how he was able to take his own personal tragedy and turn it into an inspiration for others.

As a firm believer in giving back, his dedication to the nonprofit world is something about which he is very passionate. Martinez serves as an ambassador for Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, Glasswing International, No Barriers and Debra of America.

Martinez currently resides in Austin, TX with his wife, daughter and their black lab retriever, Romeo.

Speech Topics

For Faith Based Groups

J.R. can tailor a talk specifically for faith based groups. His faith helped him through his ordeal and recovery, and he truly believes that God was in his corner. As J.R. says, "God doesn't always put you in it, but having solid faith pulls you through it."

Respecting Yourself and Others

The best things come when we respect ourselves, and others. While we tend to see ourselves as "normal" we should see others as normal in their own way. In their own skin. Be proud of who you are, and recognize that every single person has worth. Every person has something they bring to the table.

JR has spent countless hours listening to people through the stories they tell. People can teach you so much if you just listen-accept them for who they are, flaws and alland that begins with respecting

Paying it Forward: The Return is Priceless

All of us have the power to make an impact on a life, either positively or negatively. Our words, our actions are powerful. How we treat others not only affects them, it shapes us. And, frankly, why should we do something for someone else?

The payoff is bigger than you can imagine. When you use the unique power and gifts you have inside to help others, not only do you benefit, but the person you help can teach you things about yourself in a positive light.

Plugging into Your Potential

True potential can only be realized by believing, trusting and not quitting.

JR explores the power of goal setting, staying motivated, and developing the perseverance that will get you to your destination. Each fork in the road is a chance to make a decision that will take you either closer or further from your goal. If you choose correctly, there are endless possibilities.

And, while keeping focused on your goal is a good thing, you shouldn't do it to the point of 'getting stuck.'

JR shows the importance of being open minded to new opportunities and fluid enough to respond to circumstances that, while unexpected, take you further than you ever thought possible.

Facing Adversity with Optimism and Resilience

None of us knows what we're capable of until we're faced with a tough or unexpected challenge. Often this means having to adjust your dream or vision and sometimes event to create an entirely new goal.

It can also mean getting through a tough time a week, day, hour or even minute at a time.

By focusing on shorter term goals and keeping optimism (and even humor) at the forefront, your entire outlook and perspective can be transformed. We are all stronger and more resilient than we think. In facing challenges and recovering from setbacks, we have new opportunities to develop the unique gifts that have been given to us.

It's about being able to become more what you can envision at the moment.

Bilingual in English and Spanish, J.R. customizes his speeches for each audience.


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J.R. Martinez is a former actor and soldier who survived a 2003 explosion while serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq.
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J.R. Martinez has overcome a lot of pain in his life, both physical and emotional. How does he do it? He has a secret weapon in the fight against depression- his ...

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