J. R. Martinez
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J.R. Martinez is an actor, best-selling author, motivational speaker, advocate, and wounded U.S. Army veteran. He is many things. But perhaps most significantly, he is an inspiration.
In March of 2003, J.R. was deployed to Iraq. On April 5, he was driving a Humvee in Karbala when his left front tire hit a roadside bomb. The three other soldiers were ejected from the burning vehicle, but J.R. was trapped inside. He suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to 34 percent of his body. J.R. claims that while he was fighting for his life and awaiting medical help, his sister, Anabel, appeared to him giving him the strength to live.
J.R. was evacuated to a local medic station in Iraq and then on to Landstuhl, Germany, for immediate care. He spent 34 months in recovery at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC/SAMC) in San Antonio, Texas. He has undergone 34 different surgeries, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery, in the years since his injury.
During his recovery, a nurse asked him to speak to a burn patient, who had just seen his body for the first time and had become withdrawn. After a brief visit, J.R. realized that he had a positive impact on this patient and decided to use his own experiences to help others. He continued to visit patients every day, sharing his story and listening to theirs. He learned that inspiration is often a two-way street.
Martinez has been featured on many shows, such as Oprah, 60 Minutes, Ellen, The View, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, CBS Nightly News and on CNN, Fox, HLN and Univision. He narrated the CNN documentary series, In America: Vets Wanted? In 2013, he also guest-hosted on The View. He hosted The J.R. Martinez Show on KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles, one of the most popular talk radio stations in the country. He’s also been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The New York Times and US Veterans Magazine, and was featured on the cover of People Magazine in their annual “Sexiest Man Alive” issue. He was also named one of People's “Most Intriguing People” of 2011.
J.R. Martinez is the author of The New York Times bestselling book, Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit, a memoir about how he was able to take his personal tragedy and turn it into an inspiration for others. He’s also very passionate about dedicating his time to non-profits; he serves as a spokesperson for Operation Finally Home, as well as for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, Glasswing International, Free the Children, the Viscardi Center, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA.)
In Emergency Services, we see and hear the worst - and we do all that we can to celebrate the best. J.R. walked away with a small piece of everyone of us that day - we came from all parts of the U.S., Canada and Malaysia. A room rich with cultural and spiritual diversity, and he captivated all of us. I came away with renewed spirit. Doesn't get any better than that!National Emergency Number Association
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