IAVA Board Member J.R. Martinez Speaks out for Veterans

J.R. Martinez

Veterans are not known to keep quiet and are usually the first to stand up for what is right. So it comes as no surprise when one veteran spoke up in defense of veterans and all fallen service members.

Recently, J.R. Martinez, IAVA Board Member, Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient, discussed the importance of keeping politics and the military separate from each other.

“When I first joined the military, like many other service members, I had dreams of serving valiantly and one day receiving many military accolades in service of our great nation. In April 2003, the humvee I was driving outside of Karbala, Iraq, ran over a roadside bomb. The passengers were immediately ejected as a result of the blast, but I was trapped inside the burning vehicle for five minutes. I can tell you without equivocation that the one award I did not want to receive was a Purple Heart, but I got one anyway. And I’ll tell you now, I didn’t get mine the easy way. I came home to my mother with third-degree burns over 33% of my body. I have had 30-plus surgeries to repair the skin grafts and tissue expanders since 2003. I came home a Purple Heart recipient, but my mother knew that we were only a few heartbeats away from giving her a new designation — a Gold Star.”

Read the whole story here, at

We help transitioning veterans receive their benefits.

Help us serve more than 2,000 vets this year