Service Rewarded

Last week, Time revealed its annual Person of the Year.

I was so pleased when the magazine gave the 2014 award to Ebola aid workers in West Africa. I can’t think of a braver, more selfless group of recipients. In the words of Time’s editor, Nancy Gibbs: “They risked and persisted, sacrificed and saved… The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women were willing to stand and fight.”

In a special editorial published Wednesday morning, Gibbs rightfully postulates that the actions of local and international volunteers prevented a (much worse) global health catastrophe. It is also important to recognize that these aid workers were pitted against corrupt governments and nearly nonexistent public health infrastructure.

According to the editorial, Time’s decision also reflects the social and geopolitical impact of Ebola. Simply put, the outbreak proved that the world was woefully unprepared for a global health crisis. In America, the virus was emotionally divisive and exposed shortcomings of our own healthcare system.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a momentous event in global history. It is an opportunity to learn, improve and prepare for the future. It is also an opportunity to recognize the dedication of health workers, especially those who will always run toward fires, no matter the cost.

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