Spokane native Steve Gleason awarded Congressional Gold Medal

Austin Texas. Gleason will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday Jan. 15 2020. (Rich Fury  Invision

Amid the historic impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders paused the partisan battle to honor former New Orleans Saints player and disability rights advocate Steve Gleason. Gleason and the charity also hosted a summit in 2014 to bring together ALS researchers, patients, caregivers and other stakeholders.

"But I feel more importantly ... that this honor represents some joy and encouragement, and even drive for the tens of thousands of extraordinary families enduring life with ALS".

"We as a country, and more appropriately, we as a global species face enormous challenges in the coming decades of the 21st century, "Gleason said at the ceremony".

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© Provided by Associated Press New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees visits Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.

After his ALS diagnosis, Gleason started the Team Gleason foundation to lend support for those with the disease and to raise awareness while attempting to find a cure, according to the Stephen Michael Gleason Congressional Gold Medal Act.

Gleason founded Team Gleason, a non-profit that seeks to provide equipment and care services to those battling ALS, as well as provide money for research about the disease.

His emotional speech left Brees choked up as he recalled the time when he first heard about Gleason's diagnosis.

"Ïn the ALS community, he is a rock star, he gives hope", said U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana and a doctor who helped sponsor the legislation to honor Gleason. The truth is, that we all experience pain in our lives. Now, he'll be recognized at a ceremony on Capitol Hill after almost a decade of those efforts, as the latest recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal. Thank you for inspiring hope even in the face of extreme adversity.

The play has been memorialized by a bronze statue entitled "Rebirth", on a public plaza surrounding the Superdome. He played professional football, got his MBA, married a lovely New Orleans girl and traveled the world.

Gleason is just the 160th person and the first National Football League player to receive the honor, which along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in the United States.

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