Watch a handful of Ebola fighters talk about treating (and surviving) the disease, read on for more tales from heroic volunteers, and read the full story in TIME’s  December 22 issue, available in Next Issue now.

“Ask what drove them and some talk about God; some about country; some about the instinct to run into the fire, not away.”

Regardless of reason, the volunteers and aid workers on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak committed tireless acts of courage and mercy, bought the world time to boost its defenses, risked, persisted, sacrificed, and saved—and for that, they are TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year.

Dr. Jerry Brown, Medical Director and General Surgeon at the Eternal Love Winning Africa Hospital, Monrovia

Jerry Brown

Brown recognized the imminent threat of Ebola before international organizations even thought about stepping in. With no previous knowledge about the disease, he immediately started researching, converted his town’s chapel into an isolation ward, and began treating patients.

Katie Meyler, Founder of More Than Me, a school for girls from the West Point slum in Monrovia 

Katie Meyler

When Meyler met Esther Tokpah, who awoke from a coma, having survived Ebola only to find her entire family wiped out, she took the girl in with open arms.

Foday Gallah, Ambulance Supervisor, Monrovia 

Foday Gallah

Gallah survived Ebola, and saw his second chance as a divine opportunity to help others. In his words, “I am going to get on that ambulance. I am going to every nook and cranny of the capital city, pick up whatsoever Ebola patient and take them to the treatment unit, and give them words of hope, of encouragement.”

For more stories from survivors and volunteers, open up TIME‘s December 22 issue in your Next Issue app.

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