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APSU's 2018 Unity Celebration w/ Keynote Speaker J.R. Martinez

Zadonquez Newton, Johnny Richie & Sammie Hall

J. R. Martinez was the keynote speaker at APSU's recent 2018 Unity Celebration, delivering an inspirational message of adapting and overcoming to an audience at the university's Clement Auditorium.

The former Fort Campbell soldier was severely injured in Iraq in 2003. He is now an international celebrity who has written a best-selling book, “Full of Heart,.” He appeared on the daytime drama, “All My Children,” and won the 13th season of “Dancing with the Stars.”

J.R. Martinez

Martinez opened his talk with a poignant thought, saying, “We all have ideas of what we are going to do when we grow up, the path we are going to take. When we are asked, we answer confidently. But nobody ever asks us what our backup plans if if that doesn't work out.”

He then jumped into the subject of his own childhood, living with a single mom and having to move to a small town in Arkansas. He spoke of each new chapter being a box, having to learn to move from box to box, and how those experiences ultimately prepared him to face and battle the greatest challenges of his life.

For more photos from this event and others like it, please visit our digital issue at

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