Martinez Honored by Defense Secretary, CNN Following ‘DWTS’ Victory

by | November 23, 2011 at 10:55 PM | TV News

DWTS (ABC)

DWTS (ABC)


The honors keep rolling in for “Dancing with the Stars” Season 13 winner J.R. Martinez.

Not only was he crowned champion in last night’s show, but the war veteran has since been named co-host of the “CNN’s Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” pre-show on Dec. 11 and will also take part in the channel’s “CNN Heroes: Where Are They Now?” special that will air on Thursday.

In addition, Martinez caught the attention of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for his dancing victory, according to The Washington Post, and received a note from Panetta for his service.

According to the article, the note read “Your strength and spirit captivated the nation, and your victory sends a strong message about the strength and resilience of our wounded warriors.”

Pentagon spokesman Douglas Wilson told newspaper that Panetta is also seeking to personally speak with Martinez about his accomplishments.

Martinez of course has been busy following the results of the competition, appearing on “Good Morning America” as well as “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to talk about the experience.

“Purple Heart, Smurple Heart, you’ve got a mirrored ball!” said Kimmel during the interview.

“I didn’t even know what ‘Dancing with the Stars’ was when I was in Iraq,” said the veteran and former “All My Children” actor who later proclaimed that he was going to turn his talents to writing a book and continue acting.

You can watch more of Kimmel’s interview with Martinez in the clip below…