Time magazine’s Person of the Year this year is a group of people rather than a single individual, and among that group is Kaci Hickox a nurse from Maine who traveled to West Africa to help treat Ebola.

Time announced in an article posted on its website this morning that it had chosen “the Ebola Fighters” as its choice for its coveted Person of the Year award.

Hickox is among a group of medical workers honored by the magazine, including other volunteers like her from Doctors Without Borders as well as medical workers from local communities in West Africa who put stepped forward to help as the deadly disease reached epidemic proportions in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and spread to Nigeria and Mali.

Hickox’s story reached international attention after she returned from more than six weeks of volunteer work abroad to be involuntarily quarantined in a tent in a New Jersey parking lot, though she showed no symptoms of Ebola infection and tested negative.

National media and some from abroad rushed to the Maine’s remote town of Fort Kent as Hickox returned from quarantine in New Jersey and Maine’s government sought to restrict her freedom as well.

Hickox is quoted in the Time magazine article:

“It is crazy we are spending so much time having this debate about how to safely monitor people coming back from Ebola-endemic countries when the one thing we can do to protect the population is to stop the outbreak in West Africa.”

Time’s tradition started in 1927 with the “Man of the Year” and evolved to “Person of the Year” in 1999. Past recipients have included multiple presidents of the United States, India’s pacifist Mahatma Gandi, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and last year’s recipient Pope Francis.

Time’s managing editor Nancy Gibbs said in the article announcing this year’s choice that “the Ebola Fighters” are heroes.

“The problem with irrational responses is that they can cloud the need for rational ones. Just when the world needed more medical volunteers, the price of serving soared,” Gibbs wrote in the same paragraph that introduced Hickox as one of those honored.

Time’s choice came a day after MTV’s college network, mtvU, named Kaci Hickox, its Woman of the Year.


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