HORRY COUNTY S.C. (WBTW) — A new state-run veteran nursing home could soon come to Horry County.

Horry County has the fastest-growing veteran population in the country, according to Horry County Veterans Affairs Director Ronald Elvis Jr.

Elvis said this nursing home is a game-changer for area veterans.

Elvis said the VA will be working with the state VA office to get one established in Horry County in the near future.

“I think we’re long overdue for something like that,” U.S. Air Force Veteran George Bontya said. “With the population in Horry County of over 33,000 vets and growing daily, a nursing home and maybe two is needed here in this county.”

Many Vietnam-era veterans are hitting an age where they’ll soon need assisted care and extra services.

“When it comes my time I would like to have a place here, where I could go and finally retire too, where I can be taken care of, otherwise I believe I would have to go to, it’s either Columbia or to Charleston,” U.S Army Veteran Dr. Martha Fernicola said.

Right now, Elvis said the area’s handling it well, but the issue’s going to get more serious in the next few years.

South Carolina’s veteran population is expected to grow 7% each year. Elvis said locally, it grew by 11% last fiscal year.

The county is also working on a variety of ideas aimed at bringing more services to veterans in all areas of the county.

Elvis said they’re looking into ways to provide mobile services to veterans and open more places to get help around Horry County.

“We have been for the last six months participating in a trail-run with the VA clinic in Myrtle Beach. We staff an office there on Wednesdays. Out-of-pocket I send two folks over to work there, again it’s at the VA clinic, so there’s no cost involved to the county at all,” Elvis said.

Elvis said a lot of progress on the nursing home project is in the negotiation stages.