Former Saints player nominated for Congressional Gold Medal
Many may not recognize the name Steve Gleason, but to a large fan base, he’s the man made famous for blocking a punt in 2006 following the reopening of the Superdome post-Hurricane Katrina. Gleason was a safety for the New Orleans Saints at the time and his block became a symbol of New Orleans’ strength and recovery.
In 2011, Gleason was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Since that time, he has been a pioneer in the development of technology to help ALS patients live longer. His Team Gleason foundation has raised money, and awareness, of the disease, and has helped to produce devices such as eye trackers to help sufferers communicate. Congress passed the Gleason Act this year, giving much-needed funding to help ALS patients receive the devices.
Now, federal lawmakers in Louisiana and Washington are pushing for Gleason to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor that Congress can award. The bill supporting the request was sponsored by Senator Bill Cassidy out of Louisiana, and hopes to provide Gleason with the recognition he deserves for his continued dedication to ALS patients. Says Cassidy, "Steve Gleason was a hero for Saints fans and now he is a hero for all Americans as he finds hope and meaning in overcoming disability and creating greater opportunity for others who are disabled."
Both the House and the Senate have to approve the bill. If they do, it will be sent to President Trump for his signature. Thomas Edison, John Wayne, Mother Theresa and Rosa Parks are a few of the past recipients of the award.