During his time on Dancing with the Stars, J.R. Martinez inspired millions with his heroic story… And, now he’s sharing his story with the world in a documentary.
28-year-old wounded-war-vet-turned-actor has partnered with non-profit organization Trial by Fire: Lives Re-Forged to release a documentary this month by the same name. The hope: to educate viewers on why they should be less cruel to burn victims.
In the film’s trailer, the El Salvadorian actor—who beat out Ricki Lake and Rob Kardashian on the 13th season of ABC’s hit dancing competition for the mirror ball trophy—talks about his ordeal and what he calls “his new birthday.”
“April 5th, 2003 is my new birthday, it’s a day that I will never forget just like a birthday,” Martinez says somberly. “But, it’s a day that I won’t get phone calls or presents.”
Martinez was severely burned when the Humvee he was driving in Iraq hit a land mine. More than 40 percent of his body was scarred.
“I drove maybe, 100 yards, then all of a sudden boom!” recalls Martinez before stating his new found mantra: “This is my body, these are my scars.”
Trial By Fire filmmakers tell Fox News Latino that they feel “very lucky to have him in the film.”
“It is a very powerful film with some very inspirational people,” says the film’s executive producer William Harris.
In the documentary, this year’s Rose Parade grand marshall urges everyone to look beyond the wounds.
“Our scars are just a symbol of bravery, of courage, of strength,” Martinez says. “If we step out there in the world and we say ‘This is who I am’ people will get to a point where they don’t even see your scars.”
“This is my uniform,” he adds. “I wear it every single day and there’s nothing you can do, nothing I can do, to take it off.”
The trailer for the documentary ends with the message: “Fire is unforgiving… we don’t have to be.”