#DUG12 #DUGConf Keynote: JR Martinez – Adapt & Overcome

*** Please remember that this is MY opinion and that I am typing live so please excuse the typos (autocorrect), spelling errors and grammar – it’s NOT my fault???  &8 D   ??? Oh??? and because there is no Freakin’ power in this room I might have to end if my power gets too low

  • Christine Kurth, President DUG Governing Board
  • J.R. Martinez – June 14, 1983 – Louisiana – grew up in Arkansas and then moved to Georgia (where he calls home) – joined the Army and in March 2003 went to Iraq and a month after being there??? the truck he was driving hit a landmine he was pinned and was burned on 40% of his body – spent 34 months & had 33 different surgeries during the recovery time – 2011 He won the Dancing of the Stars and named the 2012 Tournament of Roses 
  • What has he learned in the 9 years since he was injured (28 years old) 
  • “There is a difference between Hearing and Listening” – life is about partnerships & relationships – you have all kinds of partnerships in life – no man or woman cannot get through life without the help of another 
  • For anyone who leaves without what he is saying “speaking” to them??? he asks: treat the things that he says like “loose change”??? store the things that he is saying and “put it in your pocket” and when you need it you have it 
  • It is important that we all share our story??? It is important for us to Tell our story??? even if it is on paper
  • Family is from El Salvador – his mom’s plan was to come to the U.S. for a little while but the plan changed – we must adapt and overcome when our plans Change – He was born in Shreveport Louisiana (lived there until 9yrs) – His dad left – His mom choose to stay in the U.S. to give her son all of the opportunities available here – at 9 yrs old moved to Hope, Arkansas because it is a small town – football helped him adapt to the new environment, goal now is to be a professional football player – Consumed by football believing if he “bathed himself” in it he would become a success – Heard that IF you want to play football you need to move to one of three states including Georgia – visited Dalton Georgia with his mom (Carpet Capital of the world) and really wanted to move there – convinced his mom that he would go to Dalton for a few weeks, got a job and a month later his mom moved there – His vision: High school / college / college / Pros – Senior year the Best year of his high school years (suffered an injury his Jr year and not great grades) – decided to go to a Division II school and then go to a bigger school, also because his mom is a single mom – told that he would not be able to play football for two years because he didn’t have enough credits from his high school??? told mom that if he didn’t get to play football then he wouldn’t go to college – graduated from high school, got a job, channel surfing and saw an option: The Army and his mom said “no way” but there was a plan for 3 years in the Army and then could go to college and still play football
  • We need to recognize both our strengths but also our weaknesses – be open to your own weaknesses and others also
  • Don’t just go to someone for $20k – go to them with a full proposal – do your work ??? had to do the same thing with his mother: a full business proposal – Joining the Army and would give him the options to go to college, build credits, give back to the U.S. – Sept 2002 infantry 
  • “Long term goal provides a vision – short term goal provides the motivation”
  • January 2003 – Ft Campbell KY – 19 yrs old told that he was deploying a month after basic training – how are you prepared for war?  Movies, training, stories, but how do you learn & know if you are ready for that? 
  • March 2003 – Iraq – Job was to get people to where they want to go.. that caravan / protection for someone – helping to protect people so they could do the job that was needed, providing security – “Amazing how  you can go in One Minute to change all your hopes, dreams, everything was changed” – trapped inside the truck, fully engulfed in flames, for five minutes – 19yrs old thinking that THIS is where my life is going to end, in this country, didn’t have the opportunity to marry family, grow old – Blew everything I wanted into little pieces – “I could see my hands changing” and then was pulled out of the vehicle – multiple injuries besides the burns 
  • “Humor is an important part of life – you just have to be able to Laugh”
  • Brook Army Hospital, San Antonio TX – 3 weeks in a medical induced coma – the first day was about where he was and what had happened but his mother was also there – The NEW Plan – 7:30am the nurse will come in and feed him (couldn’t do anything – mind thought he could but his body couldn’t) / 8am take to shower / (maybe this won’t be so bad after all??? hey.. I watch movies .. they Lie!  And Then Mike walks in ) 
  • We reach those moments in life where we ask WHY but people can’t always say something back to you 
  • After seeing how he looks he fell into a deep dark depression but there was nothing anyone could say until his mom just said “Look here .. I am going to tell you something.” – Drill Seargeant said “You are government property”, which stuck with him – “What are you going to say with me?  Is this your body?  Are you the one who people are going to stare at?  What about all the possibilities?  What are you going to say when I have to go to the store?  You aren’t living with this, I AM!”  His Mom said, “You have a lot of things to learn about but ??? no matter who you have in your life, they are in your life because of Who you are, not the way you look” – In THAT Moment I made a choice and he set a short term goal, as long as I wake up everything morning with a positive attitude??? just get through every single moment and end the day the same way – As long as you start your day positive & finish it the same way. Everything else is irrelevant’
  • One day he was asked to visit this patient and realized that he could have a positive influence on others – maybe I was kept in this world to help people deal with their own experiences – what’s the big deal??? six months things will be Better – a Year later he was being interviewed by Oprah – then got involved in some non-profits and then starting to be invited to speak – the Best Motivational speaker that I can be and maybe the Best out there is now the new long term goal at 20 years old – 2008 open casting call for All My Children and got an email to audition but “I’m not an actor” and then he got the part, 3 1/2 mos. role ??? and now meeting new people and learning new techniques and making the best scenes he could.. 3 1/2 mos. role became a 3 yr role – then the opportunity for DWTS – found a way to build on each other’s strengths while working with his partner on DWTS and when weaknesses came out, they found a way to make it work.. to work as a team and to trust one another – 
  • “In Life you MUST learn to Trust each other” – Partnerships are Key in life but it is up to you – are you going to learn to build on that person’s Strengths – Trust that the people you are working with are going to do what they are supposed to be doing

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