New Florence County VA office to benefit veteran community - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

New Florence County VA office to benefit veteran community

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - As soon as next year, veterans in Florence County will have a building to call their own.


Florence County Council voted unanimously Thursday morning to fund a new Veterans Affairs building with $1.4 million from capital project sales tax funds, $220 thousand from general fund and $150 thousand dollars from council district funds.

"It'll serve our veterans and their families regardless of whether it's 100 degrees outside or during an ice storm," Florence County Council Chairman Roger Poston said. "I can't wait for the citizens to see it." 


The 5,000-square-foot building will serve as the office for Veterans Affairs, which is currently housed on N Irby St. That office is set to be demolished, Florence County Veterans Affairs Officer Randy Godbold said.


The building, which will be built next to the Florence National Cemetery at the corner of National Cemetery Road and Gaillard Street, will also have meeting space for veterans service groups and organizations.


"To be able to sit in a professional building, I've been doing claims out of my house for I don't know how long," said Robert Eldridge Jr., District 6 commander for Disabled American Veterans.


The space will also act as a welcome center for Florence National Cemetery visitors. There will be a room where people can look at artifacts and memorabilia and also escape from the elements if there's bad weather during a funeral.


"That's what it's originally meant for is something to preserve and enlighten the history of the cemetery," Godbold said.
The Veterans Honor Guard will have space in the building to house equipment and gear.


"We have to have it someplace where it's locked and under some sort of surveillance," said Don Manley, commander for the Veterans Honor Guard. "Right now, we kind of move it from one house to another."


Godbold said the groundbreaking should come within the next two months. He said he expects construction to take a year.
 

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