LANCASTER – J.R. Martinez, the American warrior who overcame severe wounds suffered in Iraq to become an iconic national figure, will be the keynote speaker at the Antelope Valley Board of Trade’s 2013 AV Business Outlook Conference.
Martinez, whose memoir, “Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit,” goes on sale today, became a household name in 2011 when he won ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” competition.
“We believe J.R. Martinez will have the right message at the right time for an audience eager to overcome challenges in life and business,” said Business Outlook Conference Chairman Scott Cummings. “Mr. Martinez’s personal comeback against the odds is a message anyone would benefit from hearing.”
AVBOT President Drew Mercy said, “We’re very pleased that J.R. Martinez accepted our invitation to deliver the keynote speech. I feel certain that his personal saga will inspire and motivate all those attending the conference on Feb. 22. And he has also committed to attend our VIP Reception for AVBOT officials and conference sponsors the evening before the Outlook Conference.”
Martinez has become a sought-after motivational speaker, traveling the country to spread his message of resilience and optimism. He began his 2012 schedule as Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, two months after his picture appeared on the cover of People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue. The magazine also named Martinez as one of its “25 Most Intriguing People of the Year.”
On April 5, 2003, less than a month into his deployment, Martinez was driving a Humvee in Karbala, when the left front tire hit a hidden improvised explosive device. Three other soldiers were thrown clear of the burning vehicle, but Martinez was trapped inside. He suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body.
Martinez spent 34 months undergoing 33 surgeries, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery.
In a page out of Hollywood legend, a friend encouraged Martinez to attend an open casting call for veterans to audition for the role of ‘Brot Monroe’ on “All My Children.” Martinez was so popular in the role that what started as a three-month story segment developed into a three-year stint in the role of an injured Iraq combat veteran.
Advance tickets to see Martinez at the Antelope Valley Board of Trade’s 2013 AV Business Outlook Conference are on sale now. Tickets are $150 and $135 for AV Board of Trade members. Sponsorships are also available. For more information, call the AVBOT office at 661-942-9581.
(Information via press release from the Antelope Valley Board of Trade.)