J.R. Martinez Keynotes National Leadership Conference

National HOSA was excited to have Author, Actor and Speaker J.R. Martines at the Opening Session of the 35th Annual National Leadership Conference. The story he shared of facing many goals as a young man growing up without a father. To this day he has never met his father. This left a young boy to face the difficulties of teenage life without the love and guidance of a male role model in his life. Even so, he managed to overcome these barriers and stay on the right path. He enlisted in the United States Army in September 2002 and underwent Basic and Advanced Training at Fort Benning, Georgia where he gained skills as an 11-B Infantryman, after reporting to Fort Campbell in January of 2003, he was assigned to his unit; 2/5/02 Delta Company.

J.R. didn't have to worry about getting bored in the military. He was deployed to Iraq in March of that same year. Less than a month later, on April 5, 2003, J.R. was driving a Humvee when his left front tire hit a landmine. He suffered severe burns to more than 40% of his body as well as smoke inhalation. He was then evacuated to Landstuhl, Germany for immediate care. Eventually Martinez arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, TX to begin his road to recovery. Never did he realize what a long road it would be. J.R. spent 34 months at BAMC, undergoing 32 different surgeries, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery.

After his recovery J.R. inspires the lives of others through his amazing story of resilience, perseverance and optimism which he can do in Spanish and English. While his experience is certainly life-changing, amazingly J.R. claims this is actually a change for the better. He's discovered it's what's inside a person that matters most and devotes himself to showing others the true value in making the most of every situation.

His possitive message left HOSA members ready to face all obstacles and challenges with a positive attitude. J.R.'s experience with health care left everyone inspired to be that difference everyday for those around who may be struggling. HOSA thanks J.R. for his courageous and inspiring message.