The Hilton Garden Inn in Bloomfield was the setting on Tuesday for Staten Island SCORE's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the nonprofit association.

Dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship, SCORE -- Service Corps Of Retired Executives -- is comprised of a nationwide network of 13,000 working and retired business professionals from 354 chapters.

These volunteers donate their time and expertise as business counselors, and provide confidential counseling and mentoring free of charge. In 2013 alone, Staten Island SCORE assisted 643 individuals.

"These volunteers have an unparalleled, lifetime's worth of expertise and share it with those who are either starting a business or need to get their business on track," said Anthony DeFazio, Staten Island's SCORE chapter chairman, who is a retired manager for the Internal Revenue Service and the New York City Office of Child Support Enforcement.

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