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WSU alumnus Steve Gleason to receive Congressional Gold Medal

What an incredible honor for the former Cougar football player.

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When former Washington State Cougars football player Steve Gleason was diagnosed with ALS, it’s probably safe to say he never dreamed Congressional recognition would be waiting for him eight years down the road.

And yet, that’s exactly where Gleason finds himself today, as he is now just a presidential signature away from receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor the legislative branch can give, in recognition of his contributions to conquering the devastating disease.

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously confirmed Gleason’s nomination yesterday, which originated in the Senate with a bill co-sponsored by Washington senators Patty Murray (D) and Maria Cantwell (D) and Louisiana senators Bill Cassidy (R) and John Kennedy (R).

As usual, Gleason deflected a lot of the praise in a statement he released on Twitter, comparing it to previous times in his life when he felt “undeserving” and saying “the list of past winners is filled with enlightened and powerful giants of humanity. It’s ridiculously overwhelming.”

Of course, Gleason is completely deserving of this. ALS is, as Gleason put it, “a remorseless and humiliating disease,” one in which its sufferers often faded out of sight. As you know, Gleason refuses to go quietly, and the work he’s done to allow both himself and others to continue to not just outlive their initial diagnoses, but also continue to live meaningful lives — even as the disease strips them of their physical abilities — is an immeasurable contribution to our country and world.

So, yeah ... deserving.

Congratulations to Steve, one of the very best that Washington State University has ever produced. He’s at least the second WSU athletics alumnus to receive the award, joining Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck.

Saint Pete

Huh. That’s interesting.

Vince Grippi has some thoughts on that.

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