Germantown couple return home to same unit destroyed in Nashville tornado

Nashville Tornado

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Their longtime Germantown home was destroyed in the March 3rd EF-2 tornado. One year later, Buster Hughes and Caitlin Parson are moved back in and are starting a new chapter.

The couple was closely watching the tornado’s path that morning as it quickly approached their home. Caitlin was sleeping in the couple’s bed when Buster grabbed her and they ran into the bathroom. Seconds later, the tornado ripped the roof of the building and their mattress was thrown out of the home.

Caitlin lived in Germantown Place for 10 years. When they went back weeks later to say a final goodbye and clear out their belongings, Buster got down on one knee and proposed. Of course, she said yes.

Even after dealing with so much heartbreak and emotional trauma, they still wanted to move back in. The couple moved five times in 2020, eventually ending up in East Nashville as they waited for renovations.

Couple gets engaged in Germantown apartment
(Courtesy: Caitlin Parson)

“I’ve had days where I haven’t been very positive and he’s always shown me the lighter side of things and the positivity of it,” said Parson. “I am grateful for that and for him.”

Building management offered them the opportunity to move back into the same unit and they couldn’t turn it down. They were welcomed back home in January.

Buster Hughes and Caitlin Parson
Buster Hughes and Caitlin Parson

“The unit itself has always meant a lot to us,” said Buster. “We are very close with our neighbors and the community around us, so this was our home and if we had a house anywhere and the roof blew off, we would have put the roof right back on.” Several of their friends also moved back into the building.

The tornado was not their only hardship. Caitlin’s grandmother passed in 2020 and the pandemic caused even more emotional distress. But, the entire experience has given them a new perspective.

Caitlin’s work family at Hunter Paige by Parlour 3 supported the couple throughout the year. Her work life is back on track and Buster is now taking a leap of faith and following his dreams.

“Whenever you get a second chance at life, you don’t want to take anything for granted that’s why I proposed to Caitlin,” Hughes said. “I decided I wanted to follow my dream and become a pilot. I am now actively looking into that and take advantage of what life has to offer.”

The couple will spend the anniversary together taking moments to reflect on the past while enjoying each others company.

“We talked a lot about it and we choose light and happiness and to be grateful to have a whole other year at life and live it up as well as we can,” Parson said.

They’ve continued to support their neighbors and friends also affected by the tragedy and have donated to several GoFundMe tornado relief campaigns.

The couple plans to wed in early October at Bicentennial Mall.

Buster Hughes and Caitlin Parson

See how hope has overcome heartbreak across the area. News 2 brings you special reports Tennessee Stronger: A Year of Recovery all day Wednesday in every newscast and on WKRN.com.

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