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.
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.
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.
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.)
When J.R. does have leisure time, he likes to spend it with his family, friends and his black lab, Romeo.
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.
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.
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
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