J.R. Martinez will be heading to Washington D.C., where he has been invited for a very special meet and greet.
During a 10-minute telephone call Friday, Panetta told the dance champion he demonstrated the strength and resilience of wounded veterans, Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby said.
Martinez credited his military training for his performance on the ABC show, Kirby said.
Martinez and professional partner Karina Smirnoff bested fellow finalists Rob Kardashian and Ricki Lake in the finale broadcast Tuesday.
After dozens of operations during a nearly three-year recovery, Martinez became a motivational speaker and in 2008 won a role on the now-retired ABC soap opera "All My Children."
Details of Panetta's meeting with Martinez are being worked out.
DWTS is a weekly dance competition and reality show in which celebrities are paired with professional dancers and compete for the opportunity to win the coveted disco ball-shaped trophy.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press