Van Kress Charity Helps Every Family But Theirs
Christmas came early this year for the Sutton family. Tears of joy were the order of the day as Victoria Van Kress reunited Mr. and Mrs. Carl Sutton of Ohio with their son, Tyler, three days before Christmas. It's been a trying year for the family. Tyler, 16, ran away from home eight months ago, and his parents have been desperately searching for him ever since. They'd all but given up hope when Carl reached out to For Love of Lydia, a charity that works to reunite families. Their plight caught the attention of heiress Victoria Van Kress, who vowed to help them.
A decade ago Victoria's cousin, Lydia Van Kress, ran away from home. The family has all but given up hope of ever finding her. They founded the charity For Love of Lydia to help other families find lost loved ones. They know firsthand the grief and anxiety caused by this kind of separation. Victoria has often said, "I have never given up on the dream of hugging my cousin again one day," when asked about her work with the charity. "I don't want others to have to live through the same years of uncertainty that my family has."
Lydia ran away from home when she was seventeen. She and Victoria were a year apart in age and always very close. Victoria is the granddaughter of real estate mogul and copper empire founder Martin Van Kress. Lydia is the daughter of Leo Van Kress, Martin's nephew. Ten years ago, Lydia left the family home suddenly. After her father discovered that she stole his car, he called the police because he was worried that she might be intoxicated and was afraid she might hurt herself or someone else. The police found the car half an hour later crashed into a light pole. There was no sign of the driver. They scoured area hospitals looking for her, but Lydia never turned up. To this day the charity still gets dozens of calls each year from people who think they've seen Lydia in different parts of the country. Although the family follows up on every single lead, Victoria admits that the search sometimes seems futile.
Someday Lydia Van Kress might come home; until then, Victoria will keep looking for her and will keep helping other families in similar circumstances. The Sutton family, for one, is very grateful.