KEYNOTE SPEAKER: IRAQ VET, ACTOR, AUTHOR, AND DANCING WITH THE STARS CHAMP
After a sports injury sidelined his dream to play professional football, J.R. Martinez found a new path, joining the U.S. Army. He shipped out to Iraq in spring 2003. Less than a month later, his world exploded: A land mine went off under the Humvee he was driving. Three fellow soldiers were ejected; Martinez was trapped inside. His lungs filled with smoke and flames burned more than one-third of his body. His recovery spanned 34 months and 33 operations, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery. During his treatment, a nurse asked him to speak to a burn patient who had become withdrawn when he saw his body for the first time. After 45 minutes, the patient opened the curtain surrounding his bed, letting light in his room and his heart.
Martinez understood the impact his story could have on others.
Since then, he has traveled the world, spreading his message of resilience and optimism. He has become an actor and partnered with Karina Smirnoff
to win the Dancing with the Stars television competition in 2011. In October, he published an autobiography, Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit.
Parking: Parking is free in the Custom House garage on Tyler Street at Del Monte Avenue for up to one hour after the event. A shuttle is available to transport guests to and from the garage.