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J.R. Martinez to serve as 2012 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal

UPI News Service, 11/01/2011 

J.R. Martinez has been named 2012 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal, organizers said Tuesday.

The Iraq War veteran, actor and "Dancing with the Stars" contestant will ride in the 123rd Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., and toss the coin before the 98th Rose Bowl Game at the Jan. 2 event.

"J.R. Martinez is an inspiration to us all and a natural fit for our theme 'Just Imagine...,'" Rick Jackson, president of the Tournament of Roses, said in a statement.

"J.R. is not only a courageous and engaging role model for us all but has dedicated himself to helping not only servicemen and servicewomen, but all Americans facing challenges. His outlook on life is admirable and we couldn't be happier to have the chance to celebrate the new year with him as we entertain the millions of fans around the world during the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game."

"When I was first asked to be grand marshal of the Tournament of Roses festivities by President Jackson, I was speechless," Martinez said.

"I believe everything happens for a reason and I'm grateful the events of my life have provided me with the opportunity to share my message of hope and possibility."

The parade and football game are traditionally held on Jan. 1 except for years when New Year's Day falls on Sunday, as it will in 2012. In that case, the events are moved to Monday.

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