SPOKANE, Wash. – Steve Gleason and Spokane’s famous “Iron Nun” are among the 2017 inductees to the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame.
Steve Gleason is a well-known Gonzaga Prep graduate and football player. He went on to start at Washington State and then to New Orleans to play for the Saints. He blocked a punt against the Atlanta Falcons in the Superdome, less than a year after Hurricane Katrina. After Gleason’s diagnosis with ALS in 2011, he has devoted his live to battling the disease and connecting others with resources to help them in their fight.
Gleason was not able to make it to the Tuesday ceremony, but recorded a video message.
“I was diagnosed with ALS almost seven years ago. Looking back at myself at the time, I had no idea what I was walking into. It was like I was a rookie, walking into an opponents stadium and only hearing the screaming of the crazy and rabid fans. My perspective was narrow. I did not see the entire field of options. My game plan was limited. But like life, sports and football rely on strategies developed through experience and perspective. Fortunately, my time in high school at Gonzaga Prep and at WSU I was able to develop as a person beyond athletics…or at least, in parallel with athletics.
I was taught perseverance when faced with adversity. Also, I learned to be resilient after defeat. I was taught to think for myself, which disgruntled my parents, to say the least. I learned that by giving yourself to others, far more will come to you. I was taught to debate in fellowship with my elders, my teachers and my friends. Most importantly, I learned to love my neighbor as myself.
While, I played eight years in the NFL, where I gained added perspective and advantages, my roots are right here in the Northwest.
I say all this because although ALS has presented a lot of challenges and adversity, I’m very active. I’m involved in meaningful and purpose-filled projects. I’m able to be an involved and loving father to our son, Rivers. I pick him up from school everyday, I go to all of his practices, and help put him to be every night.
Much has changed in six years. Although I cannot predict the outcome of my life, deep in my soul I now have a calming sense of certainty. I plan to continue conquering for decades.
Thank you again for this great honor and always remember, no white flags.”
Sister Madonna Buder, widely known as the Iron Nun, was also inducted Tuesday. She has competed in more than 375 triathlons over her lifetime, after starting running at 47. She was even featured in a Nike commercial last summer.
Jay Rydell, Rueben Mayes, Alli Nieman, Pamela Parks Dennis Patchin and Denny Spurlock were all also inducted on Tuesday.