Cookeville tornado victim reunites with fellow Vietnam veteran

Posted at 7:20 PM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-03 21:50:41-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It was one year and two months ago this week that tornadoes ripped through the mid-state, killing 25 people.

We've brought you the story of Chester Bush from Cookeville, who lost his home in the tornado and left to live in California.

Since then, Bush has found a lot of his old service medals and commendations, but last week he found something he didn't even realize was missing for 50 years.

It was just outside Saigon during the Vietnam war when Bush and his war buddy Ken Hickman first met. After the Tornadoes, Ken saw Chester's story on the news.

Chester's daughter Karen started the ball rolling. And last week, Chester got a surprise reunion with Ken.

"'Ken asked me, do you know who I am?' and I said, 'I sure do, you're Ken Hickman!'," Chester said recounting the moment.

"We shared some stories from each other, and it was just really a neat experience," he said.

Through so much bad -- a tornado and a pandemic -- Chester and his daughter can't help but see the good.

"New beginnings, re-connections, so it's been a real blessing," Karen said.