Thursday, 31 August 2017 18:46

Colby College student's tech feature saves thousands in Texas Featured

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HOUSTON - One Colby College student from Houston found a way to help thousands as he braved Hurricane Harvey himself.

"Hurricane harvey was no joke," said Nile Dixon, who will be a sophomore at Colby College this fall.

Dixon was home for the summer in Houston, getting ready to head back to school, when Hurricane Harvey hit.

"There was a lot of people who have lost their houses," Dixon said. "My uncle, he was missing for a while so that was a scary experience as well."

Luckily, his house never lost power.

"I was on Facebook and somebody posted a list of hurricane shelters that were available for people to evacuate to," Dixon said.

But how could someone get to that information if they didn't have an internet connection?

"How would they know which one is the closest to them in such a time-crunch situation?" said Dixon.

So Dixon took technology he'd already known and used to create a way to help.

"What I built was a texting feature," said Dixon.

Using this feature is very simple. All you have to do is text your zip code to a certain number and it'll send you back information about an open hurricane shelter nearest to you in Texas.

"Based on our projections it helped over 3,000 people find the nearest shelter to them," said Dixon.

Dixon has been receiving messages from people expressing their gratitude.

"It's really humbling because sometimes you feel like you can't really help, but the little things that you can do really make a big impact on the world," Dixon said.

While his flight back to Maine was delayed, Dixon will be able to get to Colby College in time to start classes.

Kayla Fish

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Kayla joined the ABC 7 & FOX 22 news team in May of 2017. She got into journalism because she loves talking with people, and she's incredibly grateful to share the stories of Mainers throughout the region.

She got...