Wounded warrior, celebrity J.R. Martinez to deliver AVBOT Outlook Conference keynote
J.R. Martinez, the American warrior whose inspirational battle to overcome severe wounds he suffered in Iraq to become an iconic national figure, will be the keynote speaker at the Antelope Valley Board of Trade’s 2013 AV Business Outlook Conference.
Martinez, whose memoir, “Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit,” went on sale days ago, became a household word in 2011 when he and celebrity partner Karina Smirnoff won ABC’s 13th season “Dancing With the Stars” competition.
Business Outlook Conference Chairman Scott Cummings said, “We believe J.R. Martinez will have the right message at the right time for an audience eager to overcome challenges in life and business. Mr. Martinez’s personal comeback against the odds is a message anyone would benefit from hearing.”
AVBOT President Drew Mercy said, “We’re very pleased that J.R. Martinez accepted our invitation to deliver the keynote speech. I feel certain that his personal saga will inspire and motivate all those attending the conference on Feb. 22. And he has also committed to attend our VIP Reception for AVBOT officials and conference sponsors the evening before the Outlook Conference.”
J.R. has become a highly sought-after motivational speaker, travelling the country to spread his message of resilience and optimism. He devotes himself to showing others the true value in making the most of every situation. He is called on by a wide-range of groups, including large corporations, veterans groups, non-profits and schools, and has shared the stage with the likes of global self-help guru Tony Robbins and Evangelist Dave Roever.
J.R. began his 2012 schedule as Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, two months after his picture appeared on the cover of People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue. The magazine also named him as one of its “25 Most Intriguing People of the Year.”
Jose Rene Martinez was born June 14, 1983 in Shreveport, LA to Maria Zavala. He has two sisters, Consuelo and Anabel, who were raised in El Salvador with his mother’s family. Anabel died as a toddler before he ever meet her. At nine years old J.R. moved with his mother to Hope, AR, where he lived until he was 17. He moved to Dalton, GA, a place he proudly calls his hometown. During his senior year he played strong safety for the Dalton High School Catamounts when they went to Georgia’s State Championship. Playing professional football was his dream until he suffered an injury his senior year.
After high school he joined the Army. J.R. was proud to serve, as a way to give something back to a country that had already given so much to him and his family. In September, 2002, J.R. underwent Basic and Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Benning, GA.
Reporting to Fort Campbell, KY in January of 2003, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. Two months later he deployed to Iraq, and on April 5, less than a month into his deployment, he was driving a Humvee in Karbala, when the left front tire hit a hidden improvised explosive device. Three other soldiers with J.R. were thrown clear of the burning vehicle, but J.R. was trapped inside, suffering smoke inhalation and severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body.
J.R. was evacuated to Landstuhl, Germany, for immediate care, and later transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, where he spent 34 months, undergoing 33 surgeries, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery.
In a page out of Hollywood legend, a friend encouraged J.R. to attend an open casting call for veterans to audition for the role of ‘Brot Monroe’ on the Emmy Award winning daytime drama “All My Children.” J.R. was so popular in the role that what started as a three-month story segment developed into a three-year stint in the role of an injured Iraq combat veteran.
J.R. makes his home in Studio City.
Advance tickets are on sale now. Only $150 for a day of networking and motivation, $135 for AV Board of Trade members. Sponsorships are also available (**see below). Please call the AVBOT office for more information at 661-942-9581.