The House of Representatives voted UNANIMOUSLY on Thursday to award the Congressional Gold Medal to ex-Saints star Steve Gleason for all the great work he's doing to battle ALS.
Gleason (who played for the Saints from 2000 to 2006) was diagnosed with ALS back in 2011. The disease affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
But, despite his physical challenges, Gleason has been a leading voice in raising awareness and money for ALS organizations.
For example, he's advocated for federal legislation to help ensure people living with diseases like ALS have access to speech-generating devices and he's also been a major leader in the largest coordinated and collaborative ALS research project in the world.
The politicians were obviously impressed -- and Gleason will become the 1st ex-NFL player to receive the award.
FYI, the Congressional Gold Medal recognizes people who have "performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient's field long after the achievement."
It's one of the highest civilian awards in the U.S.
“It is a true honor to witness Steve Gleason become the first New Orleanian and former NFL Legend to receive the Congressional Gold Medal,” Saints Owner Gayle Benson said.
"Along with his wife, Michel, and everyone at Team Gleason, they have unfailingly confronted ALS with a courageous and unwavering determination. Their tireless work to provide crucial assistance and the latest in technology and services has improved countless people’s quality of living."
"Steve is leaving a truly indelible mark in American history and we are honored to call him a true New Orleans Saint."
Gleason will join a prestigious group of Gold Medal winners including Bob Hope, Winston Churchill, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Frank Sinatra, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King.