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NENA 2012 Keynote Speaker: J.R. Martinez
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Facing Adversity with Optimism & Resilience
Monday, June 11 |  8:00AM – 10:00AM

Often, facing a tough or unexpected challenge allows us to discover what we are truly capable of. Many times, obstacles force us to adjust expectations, take a new approach, or pursue an entirely new goal that we didn’t originally envision.

By focusing on short-term goals and keeping optimism (and even humor) at the forefront, we can transform our entire outlook and perspective. We are all stronger and more resilient than we think; in facing challenges and recovering from setbacks, we have new opportunities to develop our unique gifts and talents.

At NENA 2012, J.R. will share his incredible story of overcoming adversity and personal transformation that allowed him to achieve more than what he had ever envisioned.

About J.R.
You may recognize J.R. Martinez as the winner of season 13 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars or from his recurring role on the long-running ABC soap opera All My Children. But Martinez’s rise to fame came at a great physical and emotional cost. In April of 2003, while serving as a U.S. Army infantryman in Iraq, a Humvee he was driving was hit by an IED. Martinez was trapped inside the burning vehicle and suffered smoke inhalation as well as burns to more than 40 percent of his body. Martinez spent a total of 34 months in recovery and underwent 33 different procedures, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery.

During his time in recovery, a nurse asked Martinez to speak with another burn patient who had just seen his injuries for the first time and had become withdrawn. The 45-minute visit was transformative for both men, ending with the patient beginning the healing process, and Martinez finding a new calling in life. He began using his personal journey to help others, visiting with many patients in the hospital — sharing his story and listening to theirs.


Join NENA on June 11 to hear J.R. Martinez’s message of resilience, optimism, and the true value in making the most of every situation.

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