By Earl Heath –
This year’s Tournament of Roses was one for the books as we had a theme “Just Imagine” who could have picked a better Grand Marshall, J.R. Martinez and a better Rose Queen, Drew Washington for the 123rd parade.
There are of course a lot that comes with the titles.
There are the 80 plus appearances buy the Grand Marshall and the 140 plus appearances by the Queen and her Court.
In 2002 Martinez underwent basic and advanced training at Fort Benning Georgia. In March 2003 he was deployed to Iraq. In April of the same year he was the driver of the Humvee in Karbala when the front left tire hit a land mine. Martinez was trapped inside and suffered from smoke inhalation and had burns over 40 percent of his body.
Martinez spent 34 months in recovery and had 33 different surgeries.
“He didn’t know if he was going to live or if he wanted to live,” said Rose Bowl President Richard Jackson. “He is a true American hero.”
In October 2008 Martinez began his acting career as War veteran Brot Monroe on the TV soap All My Children.” When I got the part it was a three month role,” said Martinez. “Thank goodness it turned in to a three year role.
He now does motivational speaking and extensive charity work. He was one of people Magazine’s “Men of the Year” in the Sexiest Man Alive issue.
He also holds the title in season 13 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
Drew Washington is the 94th Tournament of Roses Queen.
The 17 year old attends Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy where she captains the volleyball and track team. She’s active in a number of organizations including the Multi-cultural Club, the Latin Club and the Student Ambassador Club.
She has attended several Rose Parades since the age of one.
She is the daughter of Craig and Lorie Washington and only the third African American Queen to wear the crown. The two others were Kristina Smith (1985), and Camille Clark (2006).
“Once I made Queen I realize the impact I was making on my Community,” said Washington.
“I honestly feel it’s an honor” She surrounded by an incredible Royal Court. Stephanie Grace Hines 18 of Maranatha High School, Cynthia Louie 17 of La Salle High, Kimberly Ostiller 17, of Flintridge Prep, Hanan Worku 17 of Pasadena High, Sarah Zuno 17 of Franklin High, Morgan Devaud 18 of La Canada High.
The Queen and Court will have made over 140 appearances during their rein.
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