Buy a home at a reasonable rate with a VA loan in Sullivan's Island, SC

VA loans were established prior to the end of World War II and have since assisted numerous veterans, service members, and military families in fulfilling their dream of owning their a home. In recent times, the program has become increasingly significant, with VA loan volume skyrocketing and offering substantial financial advantages that enable countless veterans to purchase homes, thereby making homeownership a possibility for those who may not have qualified otherwise.

If you sacrificed comfort and security to help protect our great nation, Mission One Mortgage thanks you for your service. We believe that there's no greater honor than to serve those who have served our country. We're not afraid to go above and beyond for our veterans because that's exactly what they did for us.

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What is a VA Loan in Sullivan's Island, SC?

A VA loan is a mortgage option that is backed by the government and available to Veterans, service members, and surviving spouses. It is offered by private lenders such as banks and mortgage companies and not directly by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

VA home loans come with competitive interest rates and terms and can be used to purchase a variety of properties, including:

  • Single-Family Homes
  • Condominiums
  • Multi-Unit Properties
  • Manufactured Homes
  • New Construction Homes

One of the great benefits of VA loans is that eligible Veterans can buy a home with no down payment, no mortgage insurance, lenient credit requirements, and the lowest average fixed rates in the market.

Va Mortgages Sullivan's Island, SC

This program was created by the federal government to make it easier for those who have served our country to become homeowners, and it is widely considered the strongest benefit program available for this purpose.

What are the Biggest Benefits of Having a VA Loan in Sullivan's Island, SC?

At Mission One Mortgage, we work with many Veterans who know that VA loans exist but don't quite understand the full range of benefits they provide. If that sounds familiar, keep reading. This section was written especially for you.



No Down Payment Needed

One of the standout benefits of the VA Loan program is that qualified borrowers can purchase a home without having to make a down payment up to the conforming loan limit of their county. This is a significant advantage over conventional and FHA loans, which typically require minimum down payments of 5 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

For example, on a $400,000 mortgage, a conventional loan would require a $20,000 down payment, while an FHA loan would require $14,000. Saving up that kind of cash can take service members and veterans years, but with the VA Loan, they can pursue homeownership without having to scrape and stockpile for years on end.



Less Strict Credit Requirements

It's important for military buyers to stay informed about credit score requirements when considering home financing options. Although credit score requirements have eased up a bit, it's still necessary to meet certain benchmarks set by conventional and FHA lenders. However, even meeting these benchmarks can be a challenge for many buyers.

Most VA lenders require a credit score of at least 620, which falls in FICO's "Fair" credit score range. Borrowers will typically need to meet a higher threshold for conventional mortgages, particularly if they want to secure a low-interest rate. It's worth checking out VA Loan rates to learn more about financing options.

Despite common misconceptions, military buyers don't need a perfect credit score to obtain financing. While a higher credit score can certainly help, it's important to remember that VA loans in Sullivan's Island, SC are designed to help military members and veterans access affordable housing.



Help with Closing Costs

Closing costs are an inevitable part of the home-buying process, no matter what type of mortgage product you choose. However, if you're a veteran, you may be pleased to know that the VA places limits on the fees and costs you're required to pay at the time of closing. Additionally, homebuyers have the option to ask sellers to cover all loan-related closing costs, as well as up to 4 percent of the purchase price for other expenses like prepaid taxes, insurance, and collections.



No Need for Private Mortgage Insurance

Coming up with a down payment can be challenging for both conventional and FHA homebuyers. In addition, they are required to pay for mortgage insurance unless they can make a sizable down payment, usually 20% of the purchase price. For instance, on a $400,000 mortgage, this would be a staggering $80,000 in cash.

FHA loans carry an upfront mortgage insurance premium and annual mortgage insurance. The latter now lasts for the life of the loan. On the other hand, conventional homebuyers will pay this monthly cost until they have built up enough equity, which can take several years.

Fortunately, VA loans do not require any mortgage insurance. However, there is a mandatory funding fee that goes directly to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Borrowers with a service-connected disability are exempt from paying this fee, which helps keep the program going for future generations.



Bankruptcy and Foreclosure

If you've experienced a financial setback such as a foreclosure, short sale, or bankruptcy, you may be worried about your chances of securing a VA home loan. However, don't lose hope just yet. With VA loans, it's still possible to be eligible for a home loan just two years after a foreclosure, short sale, or bankruptcy. In some cases, veterans who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection can be eligible for a VA loan just a year after the filing date.

It's worth noting that the waiting periods for conventional or FHA financing can be significantly longer than those for VA loans. Additionally, even if you've lost a VA-backed mortgage to foreclosure, you may still be eligible for another VA loan.

So, if you're a veteran who's experienced a financial setback but still dreams of owning a home, don't give up hope. Explore your options and see if a VA loan with Mission One Mortgage could be the solution you need.



DTI Ratio Flexibility

It's important to keep in mind that VA lenders typically prefer borrowers to spend no more than 41 percent of their gross monthly income on major debts, such as mortgage payments or student loans. However, it's possible to get a VA home loan even if you have a higher DTI ratio. Some lenders may offer up to 55 percent or more depending on your credit score and ability to meet additional income requirements. This can give homebuyers more flexibility and greater purchasing power when it comes to finding their dream home.

Remember - if you have any questions about the benefits you just read about - like what credit score Mission One Mortgage requires for a VA loan - contact our office today. It would be our pleasure to help you navigate the VA loan process, one step at a time.

How to Determine Your VA Loan Eligibility

One of the most common questions we get at Mission One Mortgage revolves around VA loan eligibility. Who is actually eligible for this type of loan? What are the requirements for getting a VA loan? If you meet the following requirements, chances are you'll be eligible for a VA loan.

  • If you have completed 90 days of service during wartime or 181 days of service during peacetime, you may qualify as an active-duty military member or veteran.
  • If you have served in the National Guard or Reserve for a minimum of six years, or have completed 90 days of active duty under Title 32 orders, with at least 30 of them being consecutive, you may be eligible for a VA loan in Sullivan's Island, SC.
  • If your spouse was a service member who passed away while on active duty or due to a service-connected disability, and you haven't remarried, you may be eligible for a VA loan. In some cases, surviving spouses who remarried after the age of 57 and after Dec. 16, 2003, may also be eligible. Spouses of prisoners of war or service members missing in action may also be eligible for VA loans, as well.
  • You meet the necessary requirements for credit and income to be eligible for a VA loan. It's important to note that while the VA doesn't set a minimum credit score for VA loans, individual lenders may have their own standards. In addition to credit, your lender will also evaluate your income and debts to assess your ability to repay the mortgage.
  • The property you're interested in purchasing complies with the necessary safety standards and building codes. It's also worth mentioning that in most cases, the borrower is required to make the residence their primary home within 60 days of purchase. However, there are certain circumstances in which this timeline can be extended up to 12 months.
 HomeReady Mortgages Sullivan's Island, SC

Follow These 5 Steps to Begin the VA Home Loan Process

Curious what the general steps are for purchasing a home with a VA loan? You're not alone. Keep reading to get a feel for what you have to do to enjoy the wonderful benefits of homeownership.

 Home Ready Mortgages Sullivan's Island, SC

When applying for a VA home loan benefit, the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is an important document that verifies your eligibility to your lender. If you have already used your VA loan benefit in the past, a current COE can help you determine how much remaining entitlement you have. Additionally, it can ensure that your entitlement has been restored for previous VA-backed loans that were paid in full.

After you've applied for your COE, it's a good idea to examine your finances. We're talking about items such as income, expenses, credit profile, and your monthly budget. That way, you know for sure that you're ready to purchase a home.

As a veteran, you have the choice of going through a bank, credit union, or a private VA mortgage company like Mission One Mortgage. Most lenders will have different loan interest rates and fees, so it's important to shop around. Remember - Mission One specializes in VA loans in Sullivan's Island, SC. Other lenders, such as large corporations and banks, often can't match the expertise and attention to detail that Mission One provides to veterans.

During this phase, it's a good idea to meet with a range of real estate professionals. Try to choose an agent who has experience processing and overseeing VA loans. Once you select an agent, you can bring your lender's pre-approval letter to their office and begin shopping.

This is the best part of the VA loan process, other than getting the keys to your new home. When looking for a house, remember to look at homes within your price range and budget. Lean on your real estate agent, friends, and family for help in your search.

A Word of Advice from Mission One Mortgage

If you're thinking about buying a home, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of homeownership. While renting can provide flexibility and less responsibility for maintenance, it comes with the risk of rent increases, potential property sales, and uncertainty about security deposit refunds.

On the other hand, owning a home can offer relatively stable mortgage payments and an opportunity to build long-term wealth for you and your family. Before making a decision, it's crucial to determine your priorities, such as your monthly budget for mortgage payments and other expenses like transportation and childcare. Ultimately, only you can determine what's best for your housing and financial needs.

The Key to Homeownership Starts with a VA Loan in Sullivan's Island, SC

At Mission One Mortgage, we take immense pride in simplifying the mortgage process and ensuring that our clients experience minimal stress. We understand that navigating the world of mortgages can be daunting, which is why we are committed to making it as smooth as possible.

By choosing to work with us, you're not just getting a mortgage broker - you're selecting a partner who is devoted to your financial well-being and dedicated to helping you achieve your dream of homeownership. By working together, we can work through the VA loan process one step at a time.

That rings true for all of our clients, but especially the U.S. Veterans we serve. In fact, we specialize in VA mortgages and are proud to offer them to US Veterans, those on Active Duty, and their spouses. VA Loans are one of the best mortgages available, offering no down payment requirements, no PMI, and some of the most favorable rates and terms.

If you're ready to take the next big step in your life and provide stability for your family with a place to call home, contact our office today. You're closer to the dream of home ownership than you might think.

Want to know more?

Clarify your Queries Call Us Now! (843)822-5685

Latest News in Sullivan's Island, SC

Sullivan’s Island saved 100 Palmetto trees from being axed. They are again at risk.

Middle Street on Sullivan’s Island could look sparse in the new year. Sixteen miles of streets and roadways on the barrier island are part of Dominion Energy’s routine tree-trimming project at the start of 2024.Dominion Energy has contracted with Xylem Tree Experts to trim limbs that are within unsafe proximity to power lines, beginning Jan. 2. Work will begin near Fort Moultrie, and crews will make their way toward Breach Inlet over an eight- to 10-week period.The 16-mile collection of streets and roads on Sullivan...

Middle Street on Sullivan’s Island could look sparse in the new year. Sixteen miles of streets and roadways on the barrier island are part of Dominion Energy’s routine tree-trimming project at the start of 2024.

Dominion Energy has contracted with Xylem Tree Experts to trim limbs that are within unsafe proximity to power lines, beginning Jan. 2. Work will begin near Fort Moultrie, and crews will make their way toward Breach Inlet over an eight- to 10-week period.

The 16-mile collection of streets and roads on Sullivan’s Island is part of a larger trimming effort that spans 87 miles and includes portions of Mount Pleasant, Isle of Palms and Goat Island.

Each time a trimming project is announced, feedback and concern from residents is expected — particularly when the removal of palmetto trees is a possibility.

SC Climate and Environment News

Sullivan’s Island is no stranger to this: the power utility had plans to remove over 200 palmetto trees on the island in 2020, but paused the effort following a meeting with the town’s mayor, Patrick O’Neil.

“We certainly understand the passion surrounding trees in the Lowcountry; we work and live here, too,” said Dominion Energy spokesman Paul Fischer. “These are our communities, as well, and we understand that, but safeguarding overhead electric lines is critical to keeping the lights on for all the customers we serve.”

About 100 palmetto trees were not cut down as a result of that meeting and continued to grow, O’Neil said. This time around, Sullivan’s Island may not get so lucky.

“We got a stay of execution for about 100 or so of them that were not definitely intruding on the required space that power lines have around them,” O’Neil said. “I’m assuming a large number of them will have to go this time, unfortunately. But you know, we’ve made it clear to them that we hope they won’t do anything more than is absolutely necessary.”

Fischer said there are currently no palmetto trees specifically targeted for removal, but the trees that pose a risk to overhead lines soon will be identified. Trees needing removal will be marked with spray paint at the base, Mark Branham, Dominion Energy forester, said during a presentation to Sullivan’s Island Town Council on Dec. 19.

“Palms are a big safety and reliability concern for us,” Branham said.

Councilmembers had concerns about how the island will look following the Jan. 2 trimming.

“To say … it was jarring and really upsetting to everyone on this island the last time this happened is an understatement,” Councilwoman Jody Latham said.

Fischer said the five-year trimming projects allow the utility to respond more quickly to power outages during weather events, like hurricanes or the recent nor’easter on Dec. 17. Towns and cities experience fewer outages following tree trimmings, Fischer said.

Many of the outages reported on Sullivan’s Island since 2019 have been momentary outages, lasting less than five minutes, Branham said. There have been three sustained outages lasting longer than five minutes over the last four years.

During the trimmings, crews remove branches that are growing toward power lines and leave branches that are growing away from the lines. Called target pruning, or directional pruning, the process accounts for anticipated growth and is less harmful to the health of the tree than “rounding over” the tree, or laterally cutting the top of the tree. Palmetto trees cannot be directionally pruned because of the way the fronds grow.

Immediately after the trimming, the appearance of trees can be shocking.

“While it can look different immediately following a cycle, we know based on our history and our need to return every five years that those canopies fill back in rather quickly in the Lowcountry, particularly with our approximately 300 days of a growing season,” Fischer said.

Sullivan's Island group urges protection of Maritime Forest

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — Sullivan's Island For All wants to make sure people know not only the beauty of the Maritime Forest, but also how it protects the community.Karen Byko, the president of Sullivan's Island For All, says the forest is more than just a home for wildlife.Read more: ...

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — Sullivan's Island For All wants to make sure people know not only the beauty of the Maritime Forest, but also how it protects the community.

Karen Byko, the president of Sullivan's Island For All, says the forest is more than just a home for wildlife.

Read more: Lowcountry law enforcement helps those in need at Seacoast Church

"The trees here are protecting us, so we need to protect them," she said. "The Maritime Forest provides a vegetative wall between the ocean and the homeowners, so that as storm surge comes in from the ocean, they provide that wall to protect us from that water. It's critically important that we preserve these trees to protect the island from that kind of destructive erosion."

Byko says there are some threats to this forest, such as the illegal cutting of the trees.

"We have people frequently who come out here and cut into public land trust, trees, and vegetation they do not own and they don't have a right to do," she said. "This land is protected for all of us to be able to enjoy."

According to Byko, everyone should care about this issue. She advocates for the protection of these 195 acres.

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Sullivan's Island For All wants to make sure people know not only the beauty of the Maritime Forest, but also how it protects the community. (WCIV)

"We live in a world where we know the effects of climate change are accelerating," Byko said. "We know these types of habitats are increasingly being destroyed and eroded. I just encourage everybody to come out here and know why we are fighting so hard to try to save this."

Byko also mentioned this forest is one of the last of its kind.

"There are very few places we can go to anymore that we can be in a wild space like this and be able to just enjoy it," Byko said. "If you look at maritime forests, you'll find there are very few that are left along the entire East Coast of the United States. This is one of the last few remaining Maritime Forests in the United States that's easily accessible to anybody."

"Anybody in Charleston can get in their car, drive over here, find a parking space, and enjoy the Maritime Forest," she said.

Letters: Private club is wrong for Sullivan's Island neighborhood

I have lived on Sullivan’s Island since 1997.In a recent article about an exclusive club being proposed for the island, developer Shep Davis said, “The property operated as a private club for close to a century without being open to Island residents.”This is not true.When SCE&G owned the ...

I have lived on Sullivan’s Island since 1997.

In a recent article about an exclusive club being proposed for the island, developer Shep Davis said, “The property operated as a private club for close to a century without being open to Island residents.”

This is not true.

When SCE&G owned the Sand Dunes Club, island residents were allowed to buy passes to use the swimming pool for a very nominal fee.

The Sullivan’s Island Park Foundation held its annual fundraiser at the club. Innumerable residents used it for weddings, graduation parties, family reunions as well as bat and bar mitzvah parties.

The developers are requesting that Town Council change the zoning ordinances to allow for commercial use in a residential neighborhood.

This is a very slippery slope and a path Town Council must not take.

Single-family residential zoning has always been sacred on Sullivan’s Island, and separation between commercial and residential neighborhoods has always been maintained.

This is one of the things that makes our island special.

If an exclusive private club in the middle of a residential neighborhood is allowed on Sullivan’s Island, it could tear an irreparable hole in the fabric of our community.


Sullivan’s Island

Thanks for the recent, important editorial urging the S.C. Department of Transportation to improve safety conditions on King Street for people with wheels and pedestrians.

Speaking as a downtown resident without a car or bike, however, I am also concerned about the hazards of walking on Charleston’s many broken sidewalks.

I recently was dismayed to watch a young man in a wheelchair struggle to get past the broken sidewalk at 41 George St. near the College of Charleston. (I offered a push, but he declined and likely was embarrassed).

My husband fell a short time ago while trying to walk on the protruding and missing red bricks outside the college.

There are broken sidewalk pieces, and some sidewalks end in the middle of the block.

Is there any reason to allow safety cones to decorate a hole in the sidewalk for months at the corner of Meeting Street and Wragg Square?

Three months ago, I sent a list with photos of broken or unfinished sidewalks to the city authorities.

Two sites were fixed immediately on Calhoun Street in front of Gaillard Center (this was during Spoleto season), but most of the rest remain hazardous.



Solomon Stevens’ commentary of July 30 said we have to resist the temptation to try to make our schools an extension of the moral or religious orientation of our homes. He wrote schools were never intended to be that and should not be that.

Yale University was founded as a Christian educational institution. In the book, “Sex and God at Yale,” author Nathan Harden chronicles the efforts of a secular president to replace that religious orientation with one based on raw secularism.

Among other things, he brought to the campus a lecturer who produced pornographic movies and claimed to have had sex with scores of women.

Things got so out of hand, the president was fired.

My point is that if Christians are not militant — in a nonviolent way — about what is being taught in schools, people who despise them and their beliefs will rush in to fill that vacuum.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote for “separation of church and state,” he did not write for separation of Christianity and state.

Mr. Stevens wrote our children need to learn how to think critically. That includes weighing and balancing competing arguments.

I agree. They need to balance 400 years of Christian teaching in this country with what has taken place in the non-Christian countries of the world.

Would we be better off today if our forefathers had embraced their religions and philosophies? Of course not.

I believe all public schools should teach the fundamental concepts of Christianity in order to provide the students with a basic understanding of the premise behind the many movements that have sharped our country.

Whether it was abolition, labor, civil rights or other movements, Christian principles have played a profound role.

Only after students understand this can they make intelligent judgments about competing arguments and how to confront complexities of the world around them.


Holly Hill

To submit a letter to the editor, send an email to or fill out the form on our online portal.

Letters can be a maximum of 250 words and are subject to editing for clarity, tone and libel. They must carry the writer’s name and address for publication and a daytime telephone number for verification.

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SCE&G's former seaside worker perk eyed for $30M-plus social club on Sullivan's Island

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND — A newly formed development group plans to invest more than $30 million to acquire and renovate a 90-year-old, vacant private oceanfront club on this seaside enclave.But elected officials want more details before signing off on allowing a commercial project in a residential area.Sulli...

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND — A newly formed development group plans to invest more than $30 million to acquire and renovate a 90-year-old, vacant private oceanfront club on this seaside enclave.

But elected officials want more details before signing off on allowing a commercial project in a residential area.

Sullivan's Island Bathing Co. is asking the town to allow a members-only social venture called the Ocean Club at 1735 Atlantic Ave. as a conditional use in an area zoned for single-family homes.

Shep Davis, the development firm's managing partner, pointed out last week that the property operated as a private club for close to a century without being open to island residents.

Under this latest proposal, they'll have that option for the first time — at a cost of a $60,000 sign-up fee and an estimated $500 in monthly dues.

The property had been known for decades as the Sand Dunes Club. It was a private beachside retreat for employees of the former South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., which Dominion Energy acquired in early 2019 after the V.C. Summer nuclear plant debacle 18 months earlier.

The Richmond, Va.-based utility closed the property at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, and it never reopened, according to attorney Brian Hellman, a Sullivan's resident who is representing the development group.

Built in 1933 for $14,000, the then 5,400-square-foot structure was called Jasper Hall, an officer's club for military personnel stationed at nearby Fort Moultrie. SCE&G acquired it in the 1950s and expanded it over the years to just under 10,000 square feet.

Davis said the property has not been properly kept up for several years and is in disrepair.

One neighbor recently complained of the uncovered pool starting to smell and becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Hellman and Davis said the pool is being maintained.

$30 million-plus

Davis estimated it will take an investment of "in excess of $30 million" for his group to buy the property, overhaul the building and amenities and place a stormwater retention pond underground. Retrofitting the pool alone, he said could cost half a million dollars.

Real Estate

Improvement plans include offering separate pools for families and adults, upgrading the existing building and landscaping the parking area. The developers also would add a fitness center, dining terrace and gazebo along with a new entry area off a beach access path.

"We can preserve the building and re-create the club for its historical use," Davis said.

Hellman said the current proposal comes after gathering input during several meetings with residents and town leaders over the past few months.

He said the private-membership venue will provide a place for homeowners to eat and exercise without having to drive off the island or jockey for tables with tourists at the restaurants in the town's small business district.

"It will be a gathering place to socialize that won't compete with beachgoers," Hellman said. "Dining will not be open to the general public and will reduce the need for residents to leave the island."

The 3.5-acre club site is owned by a company affiliated with Charleston real estate investor John Derbyshire, the former owner of the chain of Money Man Pawn shops. The firm paid Dominion $16.2 million for the property in 2022, according to Charleston County land records.

A large house is being built for Derbyshire, who plans to remain a partner in the project, on part of the property next to the club, according to Hellman.

Members matters

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The developer said the goal is that the Ocean Club will be open to all Sullivan's residents who want to join. Davis estimated the venture will need at least 400 members to get the project off the ground.

The proposed Ocean Club would give priority to individuals and families who primarily reside on the island, said Jim Wanless, one of the partners. Off-island residents could join, too.

Real Estate

The proposed parking rules to allow a social club in a residential area require at least one parking space for every 10 memberships whose primary or secondary residences are within 2½ miles. Sixty percent of those spaces must be designated for golf carts and low-speed vehicles.

For members living outside the 2½-mile range, which is basically anyone who doesn't live on Sullivan's, one vehicle parking space would be required for every five memberships.

The rules also would require one bicycle space — through a rack or corral — for every 20 memberships.

"For whatever the number will be of those living off the island, they most certainly would come by car," Davis said. "On-island residents would have much less need for parking" since they'd have the option to come by golf cart, bike or foot.

Tentative plans call for 50 car parking spaces, at least an equal number of golf cart spaces and "adequate" bicycle parking spaces, Hellman said.

Though the membership will be open to all island residents, the developers don't expect everyone to join. They also have not set a cap on membership.

"We are trying to come up with the right number of members for the club without excluding property owners," Davis said.

Talking to the town

During a public workshop last week, where a standing-room-only crowd spilled into the hallway, the developers addressed a list of written questions from elected officials, including the benefit to the town if the club is allowed.

Davis said, under the current zoning, the property could be sold for residential development that would allow three to five homes that could be taxed at the 4 percent rate if they are primary residences. If the club use is allowed, the developers will pay the 6 percent commercial property tax as well as licensing and permit fees.

Real Estate

The developers also said they won't allow corporate memberships or agreements with hotels to provide dining or other services. In addition, no reciprocal-use deals with other private clubs are planned.

The projected hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday for interior services, with the earliest morning hours set aside for fitness activities. The club would be open until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Outdoor activities would be allowed 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day except until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Some island residents see the idea as another amenity for Sullivan's while others are concerned about increased traffic and noise a club would bring to a residential area.

In letters to the town, supporters pointed to the property's long history as a site for dining, fitness, sports, recreation and cultural, educational and social events. They said those uses should continue to be allowed.

Others said they're against the rezoning to allow a restaurant or for it to become a for-profit entity.

Town Council is expected to discuss the issue further and take public input during its meeting Aug. 15. Mayor Patrick O'Neil cautioned the developers not to expect a quick decision.

"This council proceeds pretty deliberately," he said.

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Girlfriend of drowning victim honors his memory: 'He was a hero'

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, SC (WCIV) — A young man is being called a hero.The Charleston County Coroner reported that 23-year-old Elijah Giddiens drowned off Sullivan's Island last weekend. In an exclusive interview with News 4, Giddiens' girlfriend, Angelika Rusin, explains that the heroic effort in an attempt to save others is a testament to his character."He was extremely selfless, very smart, the smartest person I’ve ever met in my entire life, super ambitious, very loving," Rusin said.Giddiens was self...

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, SC (WCIV) — A young man is being called a hero.

The Charleston County Coroner reported that 23-year-old Elijah Giddiens drowned off Sullivan's Island last weekend. In an exclusive interview with News 4, Giddiens' girlfriend, Angelika Rusin, explains that the heroic effort in an attempt to save others is a testament to his character.

"He was extremely selfless, very smart, the smartest person I’ve ever met in my entire life, super ambitious, very loving," Rusin said.

Giddiens was selfless. And that is what Rusin remembers most.

"He had a dream about buying a house and having a family," she said. "He wanted a big family, and he was a big family person."

She said they went to Sullivan's Island last Saturday for a relaxing day at the beach.

"Eli and I loved being in the water," Rusin said. "We could be in the water for hours just goofing around and having fun, and that’s what we were doing."

That time in the ocean quickly turned into a nightmare.

"We were in the water, and we heard a girl scream for help," Rusin said. "She wasn’t really far from us. She was literally right there. We both didn’t hesitate, and I went to help her, and he followed me. She got really dizzy and couldn’t move, so I told her to grab my waist, and he was right beside us.

"When I took her out to the shallow area, where she was good to start walking out the water, I turned around, and he was still there."

That's when she said Elijah went underwater.

"I heard him scream for help twice," she said. "There was a guy with a board, so I grabbed the board for him, and I tried to come back for Elijah. But after he screamed for help twice, he disappeared underwater, and the current took him. Eli was a good swimmer, and he was very smart, like I said. He would have never put him at risk, put his life at risk or my life at risk or anybody’s life at risk.

"He wanted to help as many people as he could. And he would never ask for help. That’s what I wish for every single day that he would have just said something to me that he couldn’t swim or he was struggling or just something so that I could help him too."

Giddiens' body was recovered Monday. Now, Rusin is trying to hold on to the good times and his smile that brightened her days.

"Everything I do from now on is for him. He was a hero. Not even just in that situation, but in his life he was a hero. He cared about everybody around him."


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