Most of us already have a list of things we would do if we won the Powerball. But a recent Iowa winner shocked everyone with how she spent her money.
Lerynne West got a share of a big Powerball prize. West’s first thought was not about a house or a fancy car. It also wasn’t expensive gold or clothes. West’s first thought was to do something good for U.S. soldiers. She quickly gave $500,000 of what she had won to this cause.
The single mother went on Ellen and talked about how she won the lottery and what she plans to do with the $350 million. West came up with the idea for the Callum foundation. The non-profit will help poor people, take care of animals, and help U.S. soldiers.
The name of the group was chosen to remember West’s grandson, who died a day after being born early.
The first half-million dollar gift came from West to the Travis Mills Foundation. The group helps and gives resources to war soldiers who were hurt while fighting. West said that the situation of war soldiers is important to her. She said that three of her brothers are war soldiers and that both her father and three of her brothers served in Vietnam.
West says that her family history and her love for people led her to start her own charity to help people in need.
West’s path through life was full of hard times. She said that she had to work hard at a lot of different jobs to take care of herself and her three kids. She says that she was able to buy her first home when she was 51 years old. She says that she bought the lottery ticket that would change her life while she was moving into her new house.
She said that the buy was made at a gas station, where she and her sister had stopped to get a slice of pizza and a cup of coffee.
West says she often plays the lottery and thought it was her fate to win one day. Because of this, she always chose the picks made by the machine. She says that when she realized she didn’t have her tickets, a friend asked her if she had checked her numbers. Her sister had the tickets in her car. When she heard that one of the winners was from their home state of Iowa, she called her sister. And the rest of the story is a very happy one.