J.R. Martinez nabbed the Dancing With The Stars Mirror Ball Trophy and now, an invite to the Pentagon.
According to Radar Online, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, personally called Martinez on Friday with the invitation, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Panetta previously penned a congratulatory note to Martinez, 28, saying “Your strength and spirit captivated the nation, and your victory sends a strong message about the strength and resilience of our wounded warriors.”
The lesser known celebrity on the dancing reality show, Martinez, was previously deployed to Iraq and was badly injured after his Humvee hit a landmine in 2003. He subsequently suffered severe burns to over 40 percent of his body.
The soldier had over 30 surgeries and after three years of recovery, he went on to become a motivational speaker and even won a role on “All My Children.” He played Brot Monroe on the hit soap series.
According to the Associated Press, Panetta called Martinez Friday and during a 10-minute call said he demonstrated the strength and resilience of wounded veterans.
Earlier this year, Marinez partnered with dancer Karina Smirnoff and became crowd and judge favorites. The duo wowed with performances each week and eventually beat out reality star Rob Kardashian and Ricki Lake in the DWTS finale this past Tuesday.
“I want to thank everyone who voted for us for 10 weeks. Thank you America for believing in us,” Martinez said, before turning to his partner and saying, “I’m so grateful that I was able to be part of your first Mirror Ball trophy.”