Congress votes to award Steve Gleason Congressional Gold Medal, to be first NFL player to receive honor
Donald Trump's signature is the last step for the former Saints standout to get the honor
Steve Gleason is already a legend in New Orleans for his blocked punt against the Falcons in 2006 and his work in the community after being diagnosed with ALS. On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution to further honor Gleason for his contributions by awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal for his efforts. The next step is a signature from President Donald Trump, which is expected in 2019.
Gleason will be the first NFL player to receive Congress' highest civilian honor, and he'll join the likes of John Wayne, Joe Lewis, Jesse Owens and Arnold Palmer.
"New Orleans Saints fans will always remember Steve Gleason's seven spectacular seasons with the team. But it has been Steve's work off the field that truly distinguishes him as an American hero," said Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, via the Saints website. "Steve works tirelessly to spread awareness for ALS, all while battling this terrible disease. No one is more deserving of a Congressional Gold Medal than Steve Gleason."
"It is a true honor to witness Steve Gleason become the first New Orleanian and former NFL Legend to receive the Congressional Gold Medal," said Gayle Benson, the Saints owner, per the Saints' site. "Along with his wife, Michel, and everyone at Team Gleason, they have unfailingly confronted ALS with a courageous and unwavering determination. Their tireless work to provide crucial assistance and the latest in technology and services has improved countless people's quality of living. Steve is leaving a truly indelible mark in American history and we are honored to call him a true New Orleans Saint."
Gleason also released a statement.
"I am honored, and accept the Congressional Gold Medal for all the families who has been diagnosed with ALS, as well as anyone struggling to overcome life's inevitable adversities," he said.
Gleason has become a staple at Saints games, and expect to see more of him this season. The Saints are just a win away from clinching home field advantage in the playoffs, and if that happens, Gleason should get quite a bit of exposure.
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