Cantwell Congratulates Steve Gleason on Congressional Gold Medal

Gleason will be presented today with highest civilian honor Congress can bestow

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded Washington native, ALS champion, and former New Orleans Saints star Steve Gleason, who is being awarded with the Congressional Gold Medal for his advocacy on behalf of individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases. Gleason, a WSU graduate originally from Spokane, will be presented with the medal at a ceremony today in the U.S. Capitol. 

“While we are happy to share him with New Orleans, Steve is a Spokane boy who has made all of Washington proud,” Senator Cantwell said. “His accomplishments both on and off the field are daily lessons in how to deal with adversity and how one person can make a difference. He is clearly the definition of grace. Thank you, Steve, for gracing us with your presence.” 

The Stephen Michael Gleason Congressional Gold Medal Act, passed by Congress in 2018, recognizes Steve Gleason for his work through the Team Gleason foundation to provide individuals with neuromuscular diseases and injuries with the assistance they need to thrive. It highlights Gleason’s advocacy for federal legislation to ensure people living with neuromuscular diseases have access to speech generating devices, and it acknowledges his leadership in bringing together the single largest coordinated and collaborative ALS research project in the world. 

In addition to Cantwell, the legislation awarding Gleason with the Congressional Gold Medal was also championed by U.S Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and John Kennedy (R-LA), and U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). 

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow, and Gleason will be the 160th recipient of the medal. Previous recipients include Orville and Wilbur Wright, Thomas Edison, Robert Frost, Bob Hope, Walt Disney, Roberto Clemente, Sir Winston Churchill, John Wayne, the 1980 U.S. Summer Olympic Team, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Ruth and Billy Graham, Frank Sinatra, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus.

Watch Senator Cantwell’s 2018 floor speech recognizing Steve Gleason HERE.