Lucky lady gives Iowa veterans a 'lotto' help

Phil Briggs
November 15, 2018 - 10:32 am

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Remember the 687 million dollar Powerball jackpot back in October?

Well, the single mother from Iowa who won $343.9 million recently made an unforgettable donation to help veterans in her home state.

In a recent appearance on the Ellen Degeneres show, Lerynne West told DeGeneres that her dad was a Vietnam veteran and her three brothers served in the military, so she would donate $500,000 to The Travis Mills Foundation, which offers veterans and their families physical rehabilitation programs, family experiences, rest and relaxation.

"It's very important to me that we never forget the sacrifices soldiers and their family members make for our country," West said.

She also shared with Degeneres her humble lucky lottery story.  At 51, she was recently able to purchase her first house.  After unpacking with her sister, they got hungry and headed up to the local convenience store for some coffee and a slice of pizza.

She purchased a ticket without much thought about the numbers, telling Degeneres, “I got an easy pick.  I’ve always thought if I’m meant to win, I will no matter how many tickets I buy… just let it happen."

The next day a friend had told her that someone from Iowa was a winner, so she searched for her tickets, but did not immediately find them.   Luckily they were found in her sister’s truck.  After checking the numbers several times online (she almost got it wrong because she entered the wrong drawing date) it was revealed that he had indeed hit the jackpot.  She laughingly told Degeneres that she called her sister and said, "Oh my God … you get in your truck and get that ticket back here right now … and drive slow!”

With her newfound wealth, West recently announced the formation of The Callum Foundation, named for her grandson who was born prematurely and lived for one day.  The foundation will help fund initiatives to assist with poverty, education, animal welfare, and veterans.

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