The Ebola fighters were chosen out of other contenders, which included Taylor Swift (the only celebrity to make the list), Vladimir Putin, Apple CEO Tim Cook and this year's runner-up, the Ferguson protestors. Past recipients of this title include Pope Francis, President Barack Obama, "The Protester" (representing global events such as the Arab Spring and and Occupy movements) and more.
Though Ebola has existed in African villages for decades, the disease struck this year in the deadliest outbreak yet, claiming the lives of more than 6,000 victims out of even more thousands of cases this year.
According to Time, the title is dedicated to the group of doctors and aid workers who had the biggest impact on the world and news while fighting the disease. We've all become familiar with Dr. Kent Brantly, a 33 year-old doctor from Texas who was running an Ebola treatment facility in west Africa when he became the first American to be infected. Brantly and his coworker Nancy Writebol, who was infected shortly after, were sent to isolation wards in Atlanta's Emory University Hospital to be treated for the disease.
Brantly and Writebol have since recovered from the disease.
"It's an incredible honor," Brantly said during his visit to the Today Show on Wednesday. "Those who paid the highest price for their service are themselves West African. It's an honor for me to be considered part of that group."
The magazine will be released with multiple covers, each highlighting a different Ebola fighter to represent the group. In addition to Brantly, the covers will feature Dr. Jerry Brown, Ebola survivor and disease counsel Salome Karwah, Doctors Without Borders health educator Ella Watson-Stryker and Ebola survivor and ambulance team supervisor Foday Gallah.
In an article explaining the choice and supporting the decision, Time editor Nancy Gibbs writes, "The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For the 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."
The issue of the magazine hits newsstands today.