Interview with U.S. Army Veteran J.R. Martinez of Dancing with the Stars and SAF3

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IMG_0169J.R. Martinez & San Diego Military Wife aboard the USS Midway Museum
J.R. Martinez is a U.S. Army Veteran who was severely injured by a roadside bomb while deployed in Iraq in 2003. After spending almost three years in recovery he joined the cast of All My Children, which was looking for a veteran to appear on their show. After that he went on to become a best selling author, motivational speaker and winner of Dancing with the Stars.
jr-martinez-2-300                                               Karina Smirnoff and J.R. Martinez Adam Taylor/ABC
The Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS (SDAR) welcomed J.R. Martinez as the emcee for the SDAR 2014 Installation Dinner on the USS Midway Museum.  SDAR has a mission to assist the San Diego military community achieve the dream of being a home owner. This mission includes outreach and education on Veterans Affairs home loans, down payment assistance programs, and more. 
 
 I had the opportunity to talk to J.R. last week before be began his emcee duties and asked him a few questions about his time in the military.
 
San Diego Military Wife:   “Do you think the military has supported you enough after your injury?”                                                            
J.R. Martinez“They were great, I received a lot of support.  Looking back now, I can think of some ways in which they could have done better, but at the time they did the best that they could.  But that’s the same with everything: You always think of some after that they could have done to make things better.  They can improve.  Injured service members need to tell their stories more so that service improves.”
 
SDMW: “Would you have stayed in the military if you weren’t injured?”
J.R.:  “Yea, I think so.  I liked it.  I joined in 2002 then deployed and got injured in 2003, but I enjoyed the time I was in, so, yea, I think I would have stayed in.  I was an infantryman, which really wasn’t for me, but I would have changed what my job was and then stayed in.  You have to think about what your job translates to after the military and if that’s what you want to do, and although I liked being an infantryman at the time, I would have had to change jobs.  Infantry translates into what?  Law enforcement?  That just wasn’t something I would have wanted to do, but I would have stayed in.”
 
SDMW:  “Congratulations on your daughter, she’s adorable.  If you had had her while you were in, how would that have affected you?”
J.R.:   “Thanks.  Children really play a big role and leaving them is a big deal, but that’s the sacrifice that our service men and women make every day.  It’s tough because you want to be with your children every day but then duty calls and you have to leave them for months at a time.  Military families make these sacrifices every day and I don’t think the general public realizes that, which is why I think they need to speak out and have their stories told.”
“I think that it’s actually harder on the parents though.  The military spouses and family members that stay behind do a good job at taking care of their kids, plus, when they’re young, kids have no real sense of time.  It’s the parents  that end up having a harder time.
 A few weeks ago i spoke with a retired retired Air Force pilot.  He had a really hard time being away from his kids while he was serving, but the kids were young at the time and didn’t really realize it so much.  But now he’s retired and can spend more time with them, when they’ll actually remember it later and appreciate it more.”
 
J.R. was a real class act and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.  His positive outlook on life and the great success he has had makes him a real inspiration for all. Read more about him on his website, http://jrmartinez.com/http://jrmartinez.com/
For more information on home buying resources available to military and veterans please visit http://ambassadorsfoundation.org/

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