Spokane native, WSU football great Steve Gleason to be awarded Congressional Gold Medal
WASHINGTON – Spokane native Steve Gleason will be awarded a Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) announced the ceremony in early January.
Gleason — who played football at Gonzaga Prep, Washington State University and for the New Orleans Saints – will be honored for his advocacy for those living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. It’s considered a terminal neuro-muscular disease, but he has never let the diagnosis defeat him.
Gleason founded Team Gleason, a non-profit that seeks to provide equipment and care services to those battling ALS, as well as provide money for research about the disease. Team Gleason also puts on an annual summer music festival called “Gleason Fest” in Spokane’s Riverfront Park.
In 2018, Congress passed bipartisan legislation to award Gleason with a Congressional Gold Medal, which is considered the highest honor Congress can bestow on a citizen.
“Steve Gleason has shown tremendous courage and resolve in the face of ALS. He has remained positive in the face of extreme adversity, inspiring all who hear his story. Steve deserves this medal, and I look forward to his presentation ceremony,” said Dr. Cassidy.
“Steve Gleason is a true Louisiana hero, not only for his time as a New Orleans Saint, but even more through the bravery and courage he has displayed as a leading advocate in championing the fight against ALS. I was proud to help pass the Congressional Gold Medal legislation for Steve Gleason, and I look forward to his historic presentation ceremony. This recognition is a true testament to how powerful a mark Steve has made not only in our community, but across the country. His spirit and determination serve as an inspiration to us all and I can think of no better way to honor him,” said House Republican Whip Steve Scalise.
Gleason personally worked with the Congressional Gold Medal Committee on the medal’s design, which features him in his Saints jersey and honors his native state, Washington, with peaceful images of a mountain and alpine forest.
The ceremony is set for January 15 at 12 p.m. PST in the United States Capitol in Statuary Hall.