COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs hosted its yearly Governor’s Summit on Veterans Affairs Thursday morning.

During the meeting, state officials and their partners discussed some of the successes and challenges they faced in 2022 and early 2023.

“Our veterans give us great strength, our veterans’ families give us great strength, talents and assets,” Governor Henry McMaster (R-South Carolina) said. “Our mission is to make sure all veterans who need help, get it.”

Officials said they will continue to work to expand partnerships and resources for veterans. Especially for veterans living in under-resourced counties in South Carolina.

They also discussed improving the education opportunities for military children. Their goal is to make the state a place active-duty families want to come to and stay after their time in the military is up.

State Department of Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Todd McCaffrey said reducing veteran suicides is one of their focus areas.

“When you leave military service, the gap that you often leave behind is the camaraderie, the teamwork that you found in military service. When you leave that in pole vault into the civilian world, that’s often a really challenging gap and some veterans struggle with that,” McCaffrey said.

One initiative that is showing success is the Pathfinder Program. This is a veteran peer-support program that helps veterans transition to civilian life with mentorships and guidance from other veterans.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed legislation that split the state Department of Health. The law also moves the state’s Veterans’ Nursing Homes from the state Department of Mental Health to the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“We’re confident we’ll be in a superb position to oversee the management of those homes,” Secretary McCaffrey said.

For more information on the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs click or tap here.