An arduous task made tougher this year thanks to the infinite amount of newsmakers. Still, the editorial team at TIME magazine was able to bestow the publication’s coveted “Person of the Year” designation to an assembly of characters - the Ebola Fighters. The short list of nominees included the protesters at Ferguson, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iraqi Kurds President Masoud Barzani and Jack Ma, founder of Chinese online retail giant Alibaba. However, none had the impact of the selfless, often deadly acts by medical professionals, public health officials and volunteers in the midst of the deadly Ebola outbreak. In her statement on this year’s choice, Nancy Gibbs, managing editor for TIME magazine, wrote
Ebola is a war, and a warning. The global health system is nowhere close to strong enough to keep us safe from infectious disease, and “us” means everyone, not just those in faraway places where this is one threat among many that claim lives every day. The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year.
Spread across five covers with Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly, Ella Watson-Stryker, a volunteer for Doctors Without Borders, Dr. Jerry Brown, a medical director and surgeon in Monrovia, Liberian nurse aide Salome Karwah, and ambulance supervisor Foday Gallah, the TIME 2014 Person Of The Year: The Ebola Fighters issue will be in newsstands later this month.