Employee Spotlight – Jon Karmazin, Substance Use Disorder Counselor
John Karmazin is in his third stint at Heartland House, having worked with us for a total of three and a half of the past five years. A Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) Counselor, Jon primarily works the overnight shift in the House, which means ensuring a safe and secure environment at the facility while standing ready to assist any client in need.
Jon was born in San Diego and spent many of his early years here. His professional life is highlighted by 26 years in the US Army serving in special operations units in a variety of capacities and locations that include Western Europe, Southeast Asia and the Balkans. Jon retired from the Army at the rank of Staff Sergeant.
John first joined Heartland House in 2018 and spent one year with us as an intern before joining the staff of a local methadone clinic to gain additional experience in the recovery field. He returned to us for another year in 2020, and in his words, “semi-retired” to Arizona for six months in 2021. Family matters brought Jon back to San Diego and he and our team jumped at the chance to reunite him with us. Ever the go-getter, John also operates a small landscaping service.
John’s journey includes his own struggles with alcohol that began when he was 16 years old. He completed treatment in a Veterans Administration program and, in his first actual trip to Heartland House, came to us as client. Jon has been sober since July 4, 2010. Early in recovery John’s interest in helping others with their addiction issues piqued, and he obtained an AA degree, his second, in Behavioral Science and a Certificate in Alcohol and Other Drug Studies (AODS) from San Diego City College. He later qualified for an International AODS certificate as well.
John is at Heartland House because he is driven, in his words, to “give back”. He lends a wealth of leadership experience and technical expertise to the House, and serves as a positive role model of how hard work rewards those willing to apply themselves.
Jon envisions another “semi-retirement” in the coming few years, during which he intends to pursue his love of gardening in cultivating his 40-acre parcel of land in Yuma, Arizona while possibly continuing the serve in the recovery field there. Our Heartland House team is grateful for any remaining time in which Jon can continue contributing to our mission.