by Robert Bell
BLESS THE MIC: J.R. MARTINEZ
7 p.m. Philander Smith College. Free.
After his truck rolled over a landmine in Iraq in 2003, J.R. Martinez suffered severe burns over more than 30 percent of his body and over the course of his recovery he's had 33 different surgeries.
So yes, I understand that we all get bummed out about stuff, like how work sucks or nobody understands us or the Internet is being slow. But the vast majority of us will never experience anything as painful as what Martinez has gone through. If you could use a bit of hopefulness and a heartwarming story of overcoming adversity to start off 2013, here you go. Because Martinez didn't let his terrifying injuries stop him from getting out there and living. He became an activist for veterans, an author and motivational speaker and an actor as well.
You might be familiar with Martinez from his role as veteran Brot Monroe on "All My Children" or his victory on Season 13 of "Dancing with the Stars." The key, as he told Ellen DeGeneres: "If I have a good attitude, if I stay positive, if I continue to smile every day, something good will happen to me and all of this will make sense."
Arkansas connection: Martinez lived in Hope for a while as a youngster.