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Recovery center cheers Martinez for DWTS

Nov. 20, 2011 at 12:10 PM

SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Patients and staff at a military medical center in Texas say they plan to cheer on J.R. Martinez as he competes in the final round of "Dancing with the Stars."

Martinez, 28, spent 34 months in recovery at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in Texas after being wounded by a land mine in Iraq in 2004. He had burns on more than 40 percent of his body in the accident, the San Antonio Express-News reported Sunday.

"With his attitude, when he would come back [for rehabilitation], we'd often use him to walk around and talk to the other guys so they could see where they would hopefully be several months, several years down the road," said Lt. Col. Louis Stout, chief nurse at the burn center.

Martinez made national news after telling his story on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "60 Minutes" and CNN. He later landed a starring role on "All My Children."

"I feel like God kept me here for a reason," he said. "And I believe that reason is he's using my experience to teach other people ... that's what keeps me going every day."

The remaining three finalists of "Dancing with the Stars," including Rob Kardashian and Ricki Lake, will compete Monday for the show's mirror ball trophy.

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