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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

CTMHV proud of its volunteers

- Len Langlois awarded Governor General’s EMS Exemplary Medal,

Province recognizes nine CTMHV volunteers for years of dedication -

by Sylene Argent

Photos submitted by the Langlois family

Without its fleet of dedicated volunteers, the Canadian Transportation Museum & Heritage Village (CTMHV) would not be able to operate as a local facility that preserves Canadian automotive history.

  Volunteers are always needed, and fill roles within their areas of their expertise, from organizing fundraising events to hosting student fieldtrips, and working on the automotive fleets and maintaining the facility itself.

  Just before the start of the new year, long-time CTMHV volunteer, Len Langlois, was awarded the Governor General’s EMS Exemplary Medal 3rd Bar for his service to the Chatham and District Ambulance Service. In addition, he was recognized for his in-depth involvement with the Southwestern Ontario EMS Museum, which is located onsite at the CTMHV.  

  Langlois is one of eight EMS personnel to have ever earned this award, which is presented for over fifty-years of dedication to Emergency Medical Service. Doug Arbour, who was Langlois’s former employer, was also previously one of the eight recipients of this award.

  This award is not present just on the basis of having achieved a set number of years of service, it is awarded to individuals whose service has been exemplary.

  Langlois’s passion for ambulance service started at the age of 14, when he began volunteering at a station, sweeping the floors, washing the ambulances, and learning all about the work of EMS professionals.   

  His career officially began in 1956 with ABC Ambulance in Windsor, under Arbour, after he got his license and earned his First Aid/CPR certification, his daughter, Mary Catherine Langlois, explained.

  Working in the funeral removal industry was also a passion for Langlois, she said.

  He worked with various private services, until he became the owner and operator of Chatham Ambulance Service in the 1970s, after purchasing it from Arbour. He operated the service as Chief through the municipal downloading period in 2000.

  After that point, Langlois was instrumental in creating the Southwestern Ontario EMS Museum, for which he was Curator. His first involvement with the CTMHV stems back nearly to the genesis of its overseeing Historic Vehicle Society of Ontario. Langlois had always had a fascination with antique cars and was a very early member of the association and also a member of the Kent Historic Auto Club.

  Most of his antique cars are ambulances and hearses. When the Ministry took over all private ownerships of ambulances services, he wanted his legacy to continue with the Southwestern Ontario EMS Museum. He and his wife, Mary Catherine said, put funding forward to put up the building at the CTMHV. It may be the only one of its kind in Canada, she said.  

  The majority of items on display are owned by the Langlois family, but others have added to the collection with their own items over time.

  Staying involved in the industry for that period of time was due to her dad’s passion, Mary Catherine added.

  “My dad is an amazing man and he is just a walking encyclopedia of knowledge for the ambulance industry and funeral industry,” Mary Catherine said.

  He is now 81-years old.

  Also a proud part of his legacy, Mary Catherine said, is that her dad’s two sons followed in his footsteps and became paramedics in Chatham.

  In addition, the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture recently recognized nine of the CTMHV’s volunteers for their dedication with an Ontario Volunteer Service Award. One of the individuals was Langlois for fifty years, and another was former Vice Chairperson, Mickey Moulder, for twenty years of service. Volunteers Al and Judy Kiernan were also recognized for five years of dedication, and Ed and Phyllis Jeffrey were recognized for 15-years of service.

  Three youth volunteers were also recognized for their outstanding efforts.

  Those interested in volunteering at the CTMHV can learn more by visiting its website,

  Although the Province has moved into the “red zone” of the COVID-19 reopening plan, the CTMHV continues to remain closed for the time-being.


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