Actor, author, soldier, speaker J. R. Martinez closes ALA Annual Conference on a motivating note

For Immediate Release
Mon, 03/19/2012


CHICAGO—Long before J.R. Martinez won legions of fans as the 2011 winner of "Dancing With the Stars,"  he was inspiring audiences of all kinds with his remarkable story. His message of resilience and optimism will resonate with ALA attendees, given the current challenges facing libraries and librarians, and has already inspired a wide variety of organizations, including veterans groups and schools. Martinez will help end 2012 ALA Annual Conference on a high note as the speaker at the Closing General Session from 9:30–11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 26 in the Anaheim Convention Center.

Martinez credits the following experience for the life he is living today and will talk about how he found strategies for positive outcomes in tough times. “I do believe everything happens for a reason, and I’m extremely grateful for that day because it led me into this life,” he says. While serving in Iraq in 2003, the Humvee he was driving hit a land mine leaving him trapped inside the burning vehicle. Suffering smoke inhalation and severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body, he spent the next 34 months in recovery, undergoing 33 different surgeries, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery. He resolved to use his experience to help others, visiting with patients in the hospital, sharing his story and listening to theirs. Martinez started to get noticed by the national media as a speaker.

Martinez’s new book "Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit" will be published in November 2012. In addition to his ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” win, he was named Grand Marshal of the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade, joined the cast of ABC’s "All My Children" in 2008 as combat veteran Brot Monroe, appeared on the cover of People magazine in the Sexiest Man Alive issue and was one of their 25 Most Intriguing People of 2011.   

Martinez’s appearance is sponsored by Hyperion Books.

This year’s Closing General Session will be a not-to-miss event, with a new format, including current ALA President Molly Raphael passing the gavel to the 2012-13 ALA President Maureen Sullivan and new division presidents. The Closing General Session will be immediately followed by an all-new Inaugural Brunch honoring Sullivan and the new division presidents. This elegant ticketed event includes food, entertainment, and more.

Find out about the many other ALA Annual Conference & Exhibits highlights as they’re added—speakers, events, networking opportunities, and more. And for general information about the meeting June 21-26, 2012 in Anaheim, Calif.,  visit us at  Save money with Early Bird Registration, open until midnight, Sunday, May 13, 2012. 

ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition--Transforming Our Libraries, Ourselves