WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAFB) - Former Saints player and ALS advocate, Steve Gleason, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal Wednesday afternoon. It's the highest honor Congress can bestow on a civilian.
Gleason is one of fewer than 200 people who have been awarded the medal, which requires an act of Congress. He is the first NFL player to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
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 in 2005.
Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in January of 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.
The ceremony ended about 3:10 p.m. Central time.