Iowa Mom Dreamed of Winning Big, Won Really Big

Powerball winner Lerynne West has started the Callum Foundation
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2018 2:21 PM CST
A Lotto Ticket Worth $343M Sat on the Floor of a Truck
Lerynne West, of Redfield, Iowa, arrives to claim her share of a nearly $700 million Powerball prize, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, at the Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(Newser) – "Drive slow," Lerynne West told her sister, and with good reason. West, of Redfield, Iowa, had left her lottery ticket on the floor of her sister's pickup truck, and it turns out it was a winner. A big one. West appeared with Iowa lottery officials at a Monday press conference that revealed she had one of the two winning Powerball tickets for the Oct. 27 jackpot, which was the 4th-largest ever in the US. Her share is $343 million, and she's taking the lump-sum option, meaning she'll walk away with $198.1 million, minus taxes. West quit the job she started in September last week and says she plans to share her newfound wealth with her family and friends (the AP describes her as a single mom), buy a new car, travel, and help others via her brand-new Callum Foundation.

A news release describes West as a regular lotto player who long dreamed of this eventuality: "We have a board set up that will go over the requests and decide what is in the best interests of the Callum Foundation," she said, per the Des Moines Register. "The whole thing of knowing when to pull together a team and work on these plans came from years of playing and daydreaming about winning the lottery." The Courier reports the foundation was named for West's grandson, Callum, who died a day after his premature birth in April. It plans to focus its support on causes tied to on poverty, hunger, education, animal welfare, and veterans' affairs. The New York City winner has not turned in his or her ticket. (He rigged the lottery, but his voice gave him away.)

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