Marco Werman: The State Department announced today that 2 Americans infected with ebola in West Africa will be medevac'd back to the US for treatment. A little more than a week ago, the first American died from the deadly virus. Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer had traveled by plane from Liberia to Nigeria. When he arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, he collapsed and shortly after he was dead from Ebola. Sawyer had been living in Liberia and caring there for his sister, who also died after becoming infected with the virus. I spoke today with Sawyer's wife, Decontee, who lives with their daughters in Minneapolis. Decontee told me about her late husband.
Decontee Sawyer: He was so full of life. He was bigger than life. He would be in a room and you'd know he was there. He was a very passionate man. Passionate about social ??. Democracy, he felt strongly about democracy and he wanted a better democracy for Liberia. When he became a US citizen, he was able to vote for the first time in our live presidential elections here, how proud he was to be able to do that.
Werman: There's a large Liberian community in Minnesota and Patrick, your late husband, was very involved in that community. How has the community been reacting since his death and how are they rallying and what are they able to do for family and friends in the Liberian community back home?
Sawyer: It's just been a wave of emotion. Everybody knew Patrick, everybody knew him. So now we've come together, and I said to them "It's time we unite, it's time we come together as one and do something together as one people, to help people back in Liberia," so we've come together as confirmed Liberians again Ebola, and we've identified two groups to work with, the two groups that are on the ground, that are at the forefront of this fight against Ebola, that's been there since the beginning, Samaritanâ€™s Purse and Global Health Ministries. We're reaching out to everyone and asking them to please, please donate, and that's why I'm doing these interviews, is to spread that message.
Werman: Yesterday, I spoke with Lewis Brown, the Information Minister for Liberia, and we were talking about the fear during the civil war in Liberia, in the late 90's, and the fear now about Ebola. What's it like for you when you think about home in Liberia and the challenges it seems to continually face?
Sawyer: It makes me sad. It breaks my heart because Liberia went through a 14-year civil war and families were destroyed. It takes me right back there. My family was able to leave Liberia right before the civil war and so we were one of fortunate few. But it breaks my heart and it feels like it's happening again. During the civil war, when I was here in the 90's, '91, '92, it was these phone calls, and I was like 11-years-old at the time, and everyday was a phone call to say who died. Everyday it was like people were dying. Everyday we were getting calls, there was constant crying. It's taken me back there.
Werman: Decontee Sawyer, her late husband Patrick Sawyer died of Ebola this past week after traveling from Liberia to Nigeria. Decontee, thank you so much for sharing your story. Our thoughts are with you and your family.
Sawyer: Thank you.