Actor, Veteran, Winner of Dancing With the Stars, and Bestselling Author
J.R. Martinez is an actor, bestselling author, motivational speaker, advocate, and wounded U.S. Army veteran. He is many things. But perhaps most significantly, he is an inspiration. J.R.’s career path has been incredible, and perhaps even a bit improbable. Once a high school football player from a small town in Georgia, the only son of a single working mother who emigrated from El Salvador, J.R.’s trajectory is nothing if not surprising. Even to him.
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. underwent 34 different surgeries, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery, in the years since his injury. During his recovery, J.R. realized that he had a positive impact on patients and decided to use his own experiences to help others. He continued to visit patients every day, sharing his story and listening to theirs.
Martinez has since become a highly sought-after motivational speaker. He travels the world spreading his message of resilience and optimism. He devotes himself to showing others the true value of making the most of every situation. He has spoken to troops at various bases around the world, as well as to such groups as the Clinton Global Initiative, the Red Cross, and dozens of universities, non-profits, and Fortune 500 companies. His story is unique, but his message is universal: your path in life is decided by your own ability to adapt and overcome.
All My Children
Many also know J.R. 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 daytime drama, All My Children. In 2008, J.R.’s friend noticed an open casting call from the show, looking for a veteran to join their famed cast, and encouraged J.R. to try out. After several meetings with producers, he was cast, and an actor was born. Due to his runaway popularity, what began as a three-month story arc developed into a three-year role.
Dancing With The Stars
After All My Children ran its final season, J.R. went on to surprise and inspire a nation on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Along with partner Karina Smirnoff, he won the coveted mirrorball trophy, and they were named Season 13 champions.
J.R. can currently be seen costarring on the syndicated action series, SAF3 (CW Network), as a Los Angeles County firefighter, paramedic, and veteran USAF pararescue jumper, “Alfonso Rivera”. He also gueststarred on the Season 6 finale of Army Wives.
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 freatured 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.
JR is the host of the popular podcast “Rebirth” with J.R. Martinez where he discusses overcoming adversity with special guests every week.
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.)
JR Martinez will make you laugh and leave you energized, helping you realize that you can achieve anything, even during these times, with a positive attitude and determination. Bilingual in both English and Spanish, JR customizes his speeches for each audience.
When J.R. does have leisure time, he likes to spend it with his family, friends and his black lab, Romeo.
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.
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.
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.
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 all…and that begins with respecting
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."
All J.R. Martinez Books
Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and SpiritPurchase Book
What can I say but your presentation was amazing. This was the first keynote session where we had a standing ovation from the audience. We want to extend our sincerest thanks to you for your hard work and dedication to your session yesterday at the NRC Picker Patient-Centered Care Symposium at The Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. This was a true patient story.
- The Governance Institute | Cynthia Ballow CPA, Vice President Operations
Personal stories are powerful teaching tools. Learning how to overcome obstacles and challenges are especially useful for entrepreneurs as they work to grow successful businesses from the ground up. J.R. Martinez's message to our 2011 National Conference attendees provided insightful, emotionally charged wisdom and lessons learned from his life experience. His message resonated with hope and the power of a positive attitude. Regardless of what circumstances or setbacks interfere with our life plans, J.R.'s encouragement inspired our attendees to not give up on their dreams.
- Keynote Participant | JAFRA USA
The effect you had on the audience was tremendous! It was the dose of reality they needed to put their work, lives and even their family in the right perspective. You vastly exceeded all of our expectations. You have a God given skill (treasure) to get in front of an audience and speak from the heart. That is so hard to find in today's world. This may sound trite but when you speak, whatever mental 'vacation' someone is on, you bring them into your listening audience and they leave embracing your message...a message of hope, care, and compassion." -Major General Anthony Przybyslawski, Air Force Your message about overcoming adversity in the toughest of times permeated their hearts and souls that day, and you changed many of their lives forever. I remember that day well as we packed the theatre with about 1100 people and not seeing a dry eye in the house. I'm so very proud of you and for what you continue to do. You are a class act...and I'm thankful our paths have crossed." -Chief Master Sgt. Stephen B. Page, Air Force
- Keynote Participant | U.S. Air Force Personnel Center
J.R.'s message to our team of sales professionals, executives and operations leaders was incredibly powerful. The audience represented a diverse mix of roles and backgrounds, but to a person, J.R.'s message was heartfelt and it truly resonated. Each person in the audience was touched by his passion, humility and sense of humor when sharing his story. We went from tears to laughter, and then to an overwhelming feeling of empowerment. J.R. leaves his audience with the belief in themselves that the sky is truly the limit. . I would highly recommend J.R. Martinez as a highly-effective inspirational speaker
- Keynote Participant | Raymour and Flanigan