Jose Rene "J.R." Martinez
2011 turned out to be a banner year for Jose Rene “J.R.” Martinez. Not only did he and his dance partner Karina Smirnoff take ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” season 13 coveted mirror ball trophy, he was also named the 2012 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal. He is an actor, spokesman and retired soldier. Martinez played “Brot Monroe” on the Emmy Award-winning daytime drama “All My Children.”
After high school he joined the army. Martinez 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 March 2003, Martinez was deployed to Iraq, and on April 5, less than a month into his deployment, he was serving as a driver of a Humvee in Karbala when his left front tire hit a landmine. Three other soldiers with Martinez were ejected from the burning vehicle, but he was trapped inside and suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body. Martinez travels 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.
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