When the calls were left unanswered, messages soon began peppering his phone asking, “Are you okay?”
Despite the barrage of calls, Dickson, a warehouse manager for
“I’m okay," he said. "I was just on my boat, trying to help.”
On the flooded streets of his hometown, on Sept. 5, Dickson steered his small boat to stranded residents. As he reminisces on the events of that day, he recalls young children grasping their mothers' arms, elderly women in wheelchairs with water rising to their necks, and beloved pets trying to survive.
“I’m glad I helped out,” he said.
He estimates that he helped more than 150 people that day. He wasn’t looking for recognition a pat on the back when he revved up the motor to his small boat; he was looking to make a difference.
He chuckles as he recalls news stations and foreign journalists forcing themselves on the boat as he assisted residents. “They wanted more footage,” he recalled. “But I had to say no. We needed room on the boat to help folks. We needed to save people.”
Dickson, who has lived in Houston his entire life, understands the threat of flooding for a city situated on a bayou. He recalls the numerous storms that have devastated the area in the past. One would think his experience with floods would create an aversion to water, but he loves it. An avid boatmen and scuba diver, Matt recalls times with his grandparents on the lake. His passion would serve the community of Houston well in the midst of the natural disaster.
And now, weeks later, his phone is still ringing.
“I got a call the other day from an unknown number,” Dickson recalls. The voice on the other line belonged one of the people he helped on that gusty September day. He smiles as he remembers her simple words of gratitude.
“Thank you," the voice said. "You saved my life.”