Collectively named the “Ebola Fighters,” the group of caregivers were chosen for their bravery, dedication, and hard work in combating Ebola and caring for the thousands of people who fell ill to the deadly virus this year.
After affecting Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, Ebola found its way to the States, with five people contracting the disease, including Thomas Eric Duncan, the only person to die from the virus on U.S. soil.
— TIME.com (@TIME) December 10, 2014
Iris Martor, a Liberian nurse and one of the recipients of the “Person of the Year” title, explained she didn’t want to give up on her people. Ambulance driver Foday Gallah was infected by the disease as well, but didn’t let it bring him down. TIME reports:
Ask what drove them and some talk about God; some about country; some about the instinct to run into the fire, not away. “If someone from America comes to help my people, and someone from Uganda,” says Iris Martor, a Liberian nurse, “then why can’t I?” Foday Gallah, an ambulance driver who survived infection, calls his immunity a holy gift. “I want to give my blood so a lot of people can be saved,” he says. “I am going to fight Ebola with all of my might.”
Dr. Kent Brantly, the American doctor who contracted the virus while caring for patients in Liberia, says the war against Ebola is far from over.
“It’s just a huge honor,” Brantly said, adding that receiving such recognition brings on mixed emotions.
“This is not simply a historic event that we’re looking back on,” he said. “It’s still happening. Ebola fighters are not just people who did something brave and courageous. They are still in the trenches fighting that war as we speak.”
SOURCE: TIME | PHOTO CREDIT: TIME