WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today announced that a date has been set for a ceremony to award former New Orleans Saint and ALS advocate Steve Gleason with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow on a civilian.
The ceremony will be at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday, Jan. 15 in the United States Capitol in Statuary Hall.
Cassidy was the original filer of the legislation to award the medal. He worked closely with Gleason’s charitable organization, Team Gleason, and shepherded the bill through Congress to make the medal a reality. Gleason is one of fewer than 200 people who have been awarded the medal, which requires an act of Congress.
“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.
Gleason became a Saints icon after blocking a key punt against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football in the team’s first game back in the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina. He will be the first NFL player to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in January 2011. He would go on to create Team Gleason, a charitable organization that has provided almost $10 million in adventure, technology, equipment and care services to more than 15,000 people living with ALS.