His sacrifice is written all over his face. An explosion in Iraq in 2003 left former Army soldier JR Martinez scarred for life. He’s lucky to be alive.
But the Army veteran didn’t let his disfigurement stop him. After years of surgery and rehab, Martinez found himself hoisted into the national spotlight - competing on a network dance show and landing a role as a soap star.
But before Martinez made it big in Hollywood, he made a stop at Florida State University. The school hosted a business boot camp to help injured soldiers find new careers.
“There’s another battle you have to face and that’s how do you get to the point where you chase your dreams,” said Martinez.
In June of 2008, Martinez was one of more than a dozen students who attended the program that offers nine days of business training and 12 months of online support.
“This program is a way for guys to broaden their ideas or take a step back and say maybe I’ll go in a different direction that is more suitable for my case and my situation,” said Martinez.
Martinez had no acting experience, but off camera he told us he would like to give it a shot. Three months later, he landed his first role on a daytime soap opera.
On Veterans Day, FSU unveiled its plans to lead the nation in educating returning soldiers.
“Transform Florida State University into one of the most veteran-friendly campuses in the United States,” said FSU President Eric Barron.
With the end of the Iraq war, more soldiers will be returning home and FSU hopes there will be more stories like JR Martinez.
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