Most of us have a list ready with the things we would do if we ever win a Powerball lottery. But one recent winner in Iowa surprised everyone with how she chose to spend her windfall.
Lerynne West was a partial winner of a large Powerball jackpot. The first thought for West was not a home or expensive cars. It was also not fancy clothes or jewelry. The first thought for West was a charity for U.S. veterans. She promptly donated $500,000 of her winnings to this cause.
The single mother made an appearance on Ellen where she discussed her lottery win and talked about what she will do with the $350 million. The Callum foundation was created by West. The non-profit will provide assistance for people living in poverty, assist with the welfare of animals, and provide support for U.S. veterans.
The name for the organization is in honor of West’s grandson who died a day after his premature childbirth.
The Travis Mills Foundation received the first half a million dollar donation from West. The organization provides support and resources to war veterans who were injured in combat. West said the plight of war veterans is a matter close to her heart. She said her family includes three brothers who are combat veterans and a father who served in Vietnam.
West says it was her family background and her love for people that led her to start her own foundation to help others in need.
The road for West included many struggles in life. She explained it took a lot of hard work at different jobs to support herself and her three children. She explains she was able to purchase her first home at the age of 51. She says she purchased the lottery ticket that would eventually change her life while moving into her new home.
She said the purchase took place at a gas station where she and her sister stopped for a slice of pizza and a cup of coffee.
West says she plays the lottery regularly and felt it was her destiny to one day win. Because of this, she always opted for computer generated picks. She says a friend asked if she checked her numbers when she realized she did not have her tickets. The tickets were in her sister’s car. She called her sister after learning that one of the winners was from their state of Iowa. And the rest is very happy history.