In March 2003, J.R. Martinez was an energetic, eager newly-minted soldier, deployed to Iraq to serve his country faithfully and fearlessly. On April 5, less than a month into his assignment, he was severely injured in a Humvee land-mine incident that burned over 40% of his body, left him in recovery for 34 months and subjected him to 33 different surgeries including extensive skin grafts and cosmetic surgery.

During his time in recovery, J.R. visited with other burn patients to share their experiences and realized the powerful impact those conversations had on himself and his peers as well as the potential to help others. Today, J.R. has become a highly-sought motivational speaker, devoting himself to spreading his message of resilience and optimism to audiences everywhere. He is also the winner of ABC’s season 13 Dancing with the Stars and the 2012 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal. In his captivating, compelling and inspiring presentations, J.R. demonstrates to others the true value in making the most --and best-- of each and every situation.


J.R Martinez has a variety of speech topics and themes that he customizes for each speaking engagement and crafts specifically for the audience he is addressing. Bilingual in English and Spanish, J.R. is called on by a wide range of groups, including corporations, veterans groups, non-profits and schools.

Popular Programs Include:

  • Accelerate Your Success into 3-D: Desire, Dedication, and Discipline
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Be You: Acceptance of Body & Mind
  • Respect Yourself & Others: We Can All Learn & Grow from One Another
  • Plug in to your Potential: Spark Endless Possibilities through Goal-Setting
  • Have you asked the “Why Me?” Question before? Your Answer Comes by Facing Adversity Head-on with Optimism & Resilience
  • Pay It Forward: The Return is Priceless
  • ADAPT: Acceptance, Determination, Action, Positivity, Trust
  • POWER: Positivity, Optimism, Will, Effort, Resilience
ABOUT J.R. Martinez   (+/-)

A Childhood Filled with Promise

J.R. Martinez grew up in the southern United States to a single mother from El Salvador. During his senior year, he played strong safety for the Dalton High School Catamounts when they went to Georgia’s State Championship. He showed significant promise as a future football star until an injury late his senior year ended his playing days. Football dreams dashed, J.R. joined the army as a way to give back to a country that had already provided so much to him and his family. In September of 2002, J.R. underwent Basic and Advanced Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he gained skills as an 11-B Infantryman.

A Vibrant Life Mirrors Art

Until its cancellation, J.R. played ‘Brot Monroe’ on the Emmy Award winning daytime drama All My Children. In true Hollywood fashion, J.R. was encouraged by a friend to go on the open casting call and after several meetings with producers, he was hired and his budding acting career was launched. Due to his popularity, what started as a three month story arc developed into a three year stint. His role as an injured Iraq combat veteran mirrors his own life.