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Central Washington University

CWU Hosts Champion of Optimism J.R. Martinez October 26

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (October 22, 2012) — Actor, speaker, war veteran, and 2011 champion of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, J.R. Martinez will share his message of resilience and optimism at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 26, in Central Washington University’s Student Union and Recreation Center Ballroom.

His presentation is part of CWU’s Performing Arts and Speakers Series (PASS). Tickets are $15 for general admission and free for students with CWU IDs. For more information about PASS, or to order tickets, go here.

In 2003, Martinez sustained severe burns over one-third of his body while serving in Iraq as a United States Army Infantryman. Immediately following his recovery, Martinez discovered that he had a gift for encouraging wounded veterans. He now uses his experiences to motivate others, speaking to corporation meetings, veterans and veteran’s organizations, schools, and other groups throughout the country.

Contrary to what many would assume, on his website Martinez states that his injury changed his life for the better: “I discovered it is what is inside a person that matters most, and I wouldn’t change anything…absolutely anything! I’m extremely grateful for that day because it led me into this life!”

With Alexandra Fleming, Martinez recently co-authored his autobiography, Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit. The book will be available October 30, through and Barnes & Noble.

Martinez’s story has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 Minutes, the View, Good Morning America, Rachel Ray, and on the Univision television network.

Media Contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,


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