Iowa Winner Comes Forward to Claim Half of the $687 Million Jackpot
One of the two winners of the recent $687 million Powerball jackpot has come forward to collect her share of the prize. Lerynne West was announced as the winning ticket holder in a press conference held by the Iowa Lottery this week.
Winning Ticket Was Almost Lost
West, 51, is a resident of Redfield, a town in Dallas County in Iowa which has a population of around 800 people. She bought her winning Powerball ticket from Casey’s General Store, where she had stopped off to buy coffee and pizza. She then accidently dropped the ticket on the floor of her sister’s truck and forgot about it until a few days later, when she heard from a friend that there was a Powerball winner in Redfield. She called her sister and asked her to check the truck for the ticket.
Luckily it was found, and that’s when West discovered that she had won. “My girls and I used to dream of winning the lottery”, she said. “Never thought we would be here today. As a single mom, I worked full time, went to school full time nights and weekends and my daughters had to sacrifice a lot from that.”
West said she is aware of the responsibility such as windfall brings. “When I would dream about [winning the lottery] I would get all frivolous and have a whole lineup of cars that I was going to buy, and that’s not the case anymore," she said. “Once you have won and you realize the responsibility and the impact you can make, all frivolity goes out the window.
“I plan to make thoughtful and responsible decisions on giving to my friends and my family and setting up so that my grandchildren will all have a college education”, she added.
Born in Earlham in Madison County, Iowa, West grew up on a farm with seven siblings. She worked full time and attended night school for four years to earn a college degree, all while raising her three daughters. She worked at Principal Financial Group for 14 years before moving to take up a new position as a procurement analyst at health insurance company Wellmark Inc in September. She resigned from the position after finding out about the jackpot win.
She plans to use some of the proceeds from the win to set up the ‘Callum Foundation’ to help make a difference to the lives of those in need. It will provide grants to organizations in a range of sectors, from education to animal welfare. The foundation is named after her grandson, who was born prematurely and only lived for one day.
West’s jackpot was worth $343 million as an annuity, but she chose to take the cash lump sum worth $198 million. The store she bought the winning ticket from is set to receive a $10,000 bonus. The other winning ticket from the October 27th draw was bought in Harlem, New York, but the winner has yet to come forward.
Page Last Updated: 11/6/2018 5:17:15 AM ET