Dr. Duke Vinson
Chief Executive OfficerView Profile
Dr. Duke Vinson
Chief Executive Officer
As Chief Executive Officer Dr. Duke Vinson leads all operations, counseling, recovery and business administrative operations. The professional credentials include: Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC),Master Addiction Counselor (MAC), Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC), Department of Transportation Substance Abuse Professional (DOT-SAP) and Certified Clinical Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CCAADC).
A former marketing executive, Dr. Vinson brings a unique message of hope, help, commitment, enthusiasm and compassion to patients and their families. Following his own successful treatment, Dr. Vinson completed his educational and other requirements to become an addiction professional, allowing him to give back to the community. He remains steadfast to his personal recovery to this day.He has his Doctorate of Behavioral Healthcare, Master of Science in Human Relations, and Master of Science degrees in both Professional Counseling and Addiction Counseling. Dr. Vinson also holds advanced degrees in Business Marketing and Business Management. He is currently studying to become a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. A valued strategic leader who has led recovery programs in throughout the country. Dr. Vinson brings a wealth of practical know-how, personal and professional experiences to advancing treatment facilities to be the most comprehensive residential addiction treatment and rehabilitation centers.
Office & Operations ManagerView Profile
Office & Operations Manager
As a lifelong resident of St. Augustine, Amanda has faced her own personal struggles with addiction. Successfully overcoming her addiction gave her a new purpose in life, to help others recover. Not knowing exactly what this would entail, Amanda began her journey at Pearl of The Sea Retreat as a Behavioral Health Technician. From there, she quickly moved into a leadership position within the Pearl’s operations. She has been blessed to grow within the Pearl organization, becoming an office manager, where she was able to receive in-depth immersion in the economics of behavioral health. Both clients and staff have benefitted from Amanda’s strong work ethic and dedication to providing a safe and healthy environment. As Amanda organizes the work flow of the Pearl’s operations, she has taken to heart the adage, “Work smarter, not harder;” She sees her work in rehabilitation as a testimony for clients of the potential for “Life after addiction.” Accompanying her passion for work and helping clients is her strong family orientation, enjoying her husband, three children, and a dog. With addiction no longer plaguing her, Amanda is now enjoying life, finding fulfillment in her faith, family, and work.
Nelson Pichardo, MD
Medical DirectorView Profile
Nelson A Pichardo, M.D. is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine,
Dr. Pichardo was born in Puerto Rico and raised in between New Jersey and Puerto Rico. He attended the Universidad Tecnologica De Santiago in the Dominican Republic. On a basketball and volleyball scholarship and with the help of his amazing grandmother who raised him. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree and his Doctor of Medicine he went to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in Bronx, New York affiliated with Mount Sinai School of Medicine to complete his residency in Adult Psychiatry as well as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. After completing his residency Dr. Pichardo joined the United States Air Force and was the Medical Director of Eglin Air Force Base’s Mental Health Clinic. At Eglin he was responsible for not only treating the Active-Duty servicemen and women but also the dependents on base as well. He has been practicing medicine for 25 years, Double Boarded American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology, American Board of Addiction Medicine with added qualification in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Pichardo is an Associate Clinical Professor at Florida State University Department of Psychiatry. Among the long list of accomplishments, Dr. Pichardo feels most accomplished with his family of two daughter Angelica 12, Scarlett 4 and Libanessa his wife of over 13 years.
Dr. Pichardo truly believes that “everybody is battling their own issues and that our mission is to help guide them, and that there is always hope no matter how dire a situation may seem. ”Lastly, patience helps us focus, persevere and not lose faith with a dedicated tenacious team and the love of God to have the will to live one more day for so many more lives.
Business DevelopmentView Profile
Admissions CoordinatorView Profile
Josh is a lifelong resident of Florida, growing up in Okaloosa County in the panhandle. He faced his own personal struggle with addiction and alcoholism and after years of actively using, he entered treatment and successfully overcame his addiction which led to his calling in life of helping others find freedom in sobriety. He began his journey in the field at a facility in Panama City Beach as an alumni coordinator using his experience to help others by providing support, advice, and resources to hundreds of people in early recovery. He was promoted to business office manager after three years where he continued to grow as a professional by being immersed in the economic and operational side of the behavioral health industry. He joined the team at Pearl Of The Sea Retreat in 2021 where he began utilizing his valuable skills he had developed over the years in our admissions department where he assists others in making the difficult and scary decision to enter treatment. His passion for helping others and strong work ethic make him a valuable member of our team. He is currently pursuing a certification as a peer support specialist and is interested in continuing his education in the field of social work with an emphasis in substance abuse. Outside of work, Josh enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. He is involved with non-profit organizations where he continues to help and support others. After years of being bound by addiction, Josh is able to enjoy his family, his spiritual journey, and his life free from bondage.
Matt grew up in upstate New York , but has spent the last 30 years calling North East Florida home. Matt struggled with substance abuse from his teen years through most his 20’s. In 1997 , Matt found recovery and has worked ever since to share his experience, strength, and hope with newcomers and guide people serious about recovery using 12 step principles and holistic practices. Matt believes that honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are key to finding a clean and sober path and practices gratitude daily. After spending 18 years in restaurant management , Matt found is calling working in the substance abuse treatment field. He holds a Batchelors of Science Degree in Human Services as well as being a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist through the State of Florida. Matt has worked in the recovery field since 2016 as a Behavioral tech, a Recovery Peer Specialist, Group Facilitator, and currently as a Case Manager. Matt is currently working towards is Master’s Degree in Addiction Counseling with the goal of being a Licensed Therapist. Matt’s passion is sharing the idea that “Recovery is possible no matter how far you have fallen and Hope is the essential element for change and growth”. Matt lives with his wife, son, and 2 Rhodesian Ridgebacks, in St. Augustine and enjoys boating, fishing, and playing guitar and family time in the outdoors.
Sandra was born and raised in Long Island, NY and has recently moved to Florida to continue her career in Social Work as a Substance Abuse Clinical Therapist. Sandra acquired her first degree in Exercise Science and Physiology and was a personal trainer, director at fitness facilities on Long Island and a GM of celebrity fitness center in Southampton, NY for over 20 years. Sandra went back to school and began to acquire her second degree in Psychology at LIU Southampton. Sandra then changed course studies and attended LIU Post for her undergrad in Social Work (BSW) and then her received her Masters’ in Social Work in a 1- year advanced-standing program at SUNY Stony Brook. Sandra worked as an Outpatient Supervisor and Clinical Therapist after she graduated then moved on to another inpatient substance abuse facility as a
Dual-Diagnosis, Clinical Therapist and Family Program Supervisor. Sandra then received her license in NY and is an LMSW currently and now continues to work towards her LCSW in Florida. Sandra went into recovery after her own struggles with alcohol and began working the AA program and is a firm believer in the program and all that it offers. Sandra chose her Masters’ Social Work focus studies in addiction and recovery as a way to gain the education needed to be of service to others and uses her personal experience, tools and skills to help others struggling in addiction as a Clinical Therapist. Sandra is passionate about her work with others and gives her all to her clients in helping them find their self-worth, self-respect and positive motivation for their lives. Sandra currently lives in St Augustine, Florida with her husband, son, and flat-coated retriever. Sandra also has 2 daughters who live in NY pursuing their lives and careers as well. Sandra believes there are no coincidences and that we are all on a God-led journey and following one’s heart is where that journey begins.
Business DevelopmentView Profile
Amy Patty is a Business Development Representative for Pearl of the Sea Retreat. Previously, she lived in Nashville, TN and worked in both Nursing and Outreach at Cumberland Heights Addiction Treatment Center and The Next Door, Inc., a substance treatment facility serving women.
Amy’s psychiatric nursing skills combined with her years of experience in the treatment industry make her a valuable member of The Pearl Team.
In her spare time, Amy enjoys exploring St Augustine with her husband and children and is looking forward to warm Florida winters.
Al was born in Newark, New Jersey but has spent the last 7 years in Florida. He spent most of his adult life working in the medical field as a Cardio Vascular Technician in various hospitals as well as a Combat Medic in the United Stated Army. As a soldier Al deployed to several natural disasters and combat zones throughout the world rendering medical aid to civilians and soldiers when necessary. Al struggled with his own demons and used various means of self-medication in order to find some sense of normalcy. It wasn’t until 2012 that Al was able to begin the process of healing. As an inpatient for 4 months at an institution and through the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapies, Experiential Therapies, Biofeedback, and EMDR, Al was able to find his new self.
Al holds a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling and a Bachelors in Psychology. He is often compared to a chopping knife in his therapy style because of his direct and passionate approach to helping others. He believes that rehabilitation is the forge and addicts are like iron, once the anvil and hammer start breaking down the unhealthy beliefs and coping strategies that some of these addicts have had for years they turn into steel.
Al lives with his wife and has four children. His oldest son is currently following in his footsteps and is serving in the Army. Al enjoys boating, fishing, SCUBA Diving, music, hiking, and doing all of that with his family.
Dr. Jim & Anita Henslin
Dr. Jim & Anita Henslin
James Henslin, the Founder of Pearl of the Sea Retreat, was born in a rented room in a little town on the bitterly cold Canadian border in Minnesota. His mother hadn’t completed high school, and his father hadn’t even made it beyond the seventh grade.
Jim has been a dedicated worker since childhood. One of his colder memories goes back to age 10 or 11, when he froze his nose while delivering newspapers in his little northern village. He was elated at age 16 when his parents packed up the car and moved to sunny Southern California. During the summer following high school graduation, while working as a laborer on construction projects, Jim took a correspondence course in Greek from the University of California at Berkeley. After graduating from college in Indiana, he was awarded scholarships at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he earned his master’s and doctorate in sociology.
After winning a competitive postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Jim spent a year studying how people adjust to the suicide of a family member. Dr. Jim then joined the faculty at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, where he is Professor Emeritus of Sociology. Dr. Jim stopped teaching, but he never retired. He continues full-time sociological research and publishing.
Dr. Jim is immensely pleased that he was able to be instrumental in founding The Pearl. It is his hope that these efforts, moving from the academic theoretical to the practical, will transform lives by nurturing and restoring hope. He wants this to be an essential part of his legacy.
Anita Henslin, The Pearl’s Associate Founder, has a broad international background. She was born in Riga, the capital city of Latvia, while it was under Soviet control. There she learned Russian and became part of the resistance that led to Latvia becoming a free nation.
After Latvia broke its Soviet oppression, Anita, who had studied classical piano at the Darzina Muzikas Skola in Riga, studied international relations, political science, and leadership not just in Latvia but also in Austria, France, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Among her many accomplishments is working with the Latvian Parliament as it was being developed, running as a candidate for the Latvian Parliament, serving as the Director of Foreign Relations of a major Latvian organization, for which she visited many countries and met with world leaders. She also directed the renovations and furnishings of The Pearl, transforming this magnificent Mediterranean style mansion from an abandoned structure into a 4 star professionally rated hotel and bed and breakfast. Anita then became The Pearl’s director, remaining until she and her husband decided to repurpose the property once again, transforming the Pearl into a healing retreat for people who have suffered from trauma and drug dependency.
Anita says, “I love the United States and The Pearl, and transforming our world class luxury bed and breakfast into a healing center is a dream come true. The Pearl’s tranquility—its welcoming palm trees and fountain in our courtyard, the smell of the ocean, the flying pelicans and playing dolphins, our majestic sunsets over the waters—they restore your soul and mind.”
Standing Bear WhiteView Profile
Standing Bear White
Shiloh WhiteView Profile
Words from Guests
I had a great time in treatment and learned a lot. Staff was very nice. I thoroughly enjoyed the groups and would recommend to anyone seeking help. I will definitely come back to visit for Alumni events with Stay the Course!
When I came to “The Pearl” back in November, on the day after Thanksgiving, I was lost. I had just relapsed after 2 years clean. The Pearl of the Sea Retreat revived my desire for sobriety and my recovery. The staff was beyond loving and cared about me more than I cared for myself.
Having arrived sick and scared I was on the ropes about another treatment but the kindness of the staff and camaraderie of my peers let me settle in a comfortable healing process.
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Address: 7601 A1A South St. Augustine, Florida 32080