The Madison Regatta would not exist if not for the efforts of volunteers who do everything from helping out during the weekend of racing to overseeing the events during Regatta Festival Week.

It's dangerous to single out only a few volunteers, because so many do so much, but we second the Regatta organization's thanks this week to the late Wilbur "Wib" Heitz, Merel Horton and Dottie Burress.

Heitz died Monday after complications from hip surgery at the age of 92. He was involved in nearly every part of the Regatta for more than 40 years. He served as president in 1973 and as race chairman in 1976.

For the past 20 years, he was in charge of the Regatta's public address. He also was involved with the governing body of the sport and served - with his wife, Mary - as official timer for the Unlimited Racing Commission, as H1 Unlimited was formerly called.

Horton and Burress were in charge of the Festival's other major event - the Regatta parade.

The pair took over in 1971, and ran the parade every year since. This year the city of Madison is taking over the parade because of insurance requirements.

Merel began volunteering in 1971 and asked her friend Dottie what she could do to help. The rest is history. The pair ran a tight ship and put on a great parade for more than four decades.

We send our condolences to the Heitz family on his passing. He will be missed, and we appreciate his service.

And, we thank Merel and Dottie for their long service to the community.