'Dancing with the Stars' winner to attend wounded vets fundraiser

By STEVE DEVANE | The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer | Published: March 21, 2014

PINEHURST, N.C. — An Army veteran who won "Dancing With the Stars" after being severely burned in Iraq will be in attendance at a fundraiser Saturday for a Moore County group that helps wounded veterans and widowed military spouses.

"Dancing with a Star, A Night with J.R. Martinez" will be at 7 p.m. in the Pinehurst Resort Grand Ballroom. The concert and silent auction will benefit the Moore County Operation Finally Hope Project, an organization that builds and donates mortgage-free homes to wounded veterans, widowed military spouses and their families.

Martinez was wounded in April 2003 when a Humvee he was driving hit a roadside bomb. Three other soldiers were thrown out of the burning vehicle, but Martinez was trapped inside and suffered severe burns to a third of his body.

After undergoing 33 surgeries during 34 months of recovery, Martinez became an actor, author and motivational speaker. He and his dance partner, Karina Smirnoff, won the 13th season of ABC's "Dancing With The Stars."

Those attending the benefit can bid on a chance to dance with Martinez.

The fundraiser also will feature The Extraordinaires, a rhythm and blues group.

J.R. Martinez, wounded in 2003 by an improvised explosive device in Iraq, shares his recovery story with servicemembers at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, on Jan. 29, 2014.


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