NENA News, Press, & Stories...: Events

Iraq War Vet, Actor J.R. Martinez to Keynote NENA 2012 Conference!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012  
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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 recently-cancelled 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 infantrymen 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asked Martinez to speak with another burn patient who had just seen his injuries for the first time and had become withdrawn.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.

"I discovered it is what is inside a person that matters most and I wouldn't change anything," Martinez says when asked about his experience in Iraq. "I do believe everything happens for a reason, and I'm extremely grateful for that day because it led me into this life!"

Martinez has presented alongside Tony Robbins and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and PEOPLE magazine. He has also appeared on Oprah60 MinutesThe View, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, and Univision.

Join NENA on June 11th in Long Beach, CA to hear J.R. Martinez's message of resilience, optimism, and the true value in making the most of every situation. Learn more about Martinez on his website.