Rio Park Dedicated to William ‘Pop’ Belles

Rio Park Dedicated to William 'Pop' Belles

About 100 Cape May County residents, volunteer firemen and police stood in the rain at the southeast corner of Routes 9 and 47 on Saturday, January 11 to pay tribute to William "Pop" Belles and dedicate Rio Park in his honor. Belles served the Rio Grande Volunteer Fire Company both as a volunteer and then as chief for a total of 48 years. He passed away July 29, 2010. 

In addition to his three sons, Walter Belles, Sr., James and William Belles, III, all of whom are members of the Rio Grand Volunteer Fire Company, on hand for the ceremony were Middle Township Mayor Tim Donohue and former township mayors Dan Lockwood and Susan DeLanzo. All of the officials had high praise for "Pop" Belles for his long service and dedication to the community. The Belles family donated a flagpole and lighting to enhance the park, which has been landscaped and will be maintained by the township. 

"Pop" Belles also served as longtime Fire Commissioner for Middle Township Fire District #2 and was the original founder of the Cape May Fire Police, which he served in many capacities including chief. He also was a charter member of the Rio Grande Rescue Squad and served as the squad's first chief.

"Pop" Belles is one of three members of the Belles family who are honored as lifetime members of the Rio Grande Volunteer Fire Department. Five members of the Belles family currently serve the department.