STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Powerball winner's emotional reaction

An Iowa grandmother claims half of the $688 million Powerball prize and pledges to start a charity with her earnings.

Posted: Nov 6, 2018 2:52 PM
Updated: Nov 6, 2018 3:13 PM

An Iowa grandmother won half the $687 million Powerball prize and she didn't even know it at first.

Lerynne West, 51, bought her tickets at Casey's General Store in the small town of Redfield, Iowa, while grabbing pizza and coffee with her sister. She said it was a special day because she had bought her first home and was moving in that day.

West thought she put the lottery ticket in her purse, but she accidentally left it on the floor of her sister's truck. It lay there for a couple days.

When a friend texted the day after the drawing to ask if she had won, West said she hadn't had a chance to check. She rifled through her purse and realized she didn't have the ticket. She quickly called her sister, who found it.

West looked at the photo of the ticket her sister sent her and checked the numbers on the lottery's website -- she had won!

"I told my sister to get in her truck and get that ticket and get up here right now! And, drive slow," West said in an Iowa Lottery press release.

West's ticket and a ticket purchased in New York split the $687 million Powerball jackpot in the October 27 drawing. The holder of the New York ticket has not come forward, according to the Iowa Lottery.

West opted to take home $198.1 million in a lump sum, minus what's taken out in taxes. Her other option was a $343.9 million annuity that would be disbursed over 29 years. She is the winner of the largest lottery prize to date in Iowa.

This single mom is going to pay it forward

West was born and raised in Iowa, hailing from Earlham. Her father was a welder and her mother a stay-at-home mom to West and her seven siblings.

She detassled corn and weeded bean fields to help support her family, she said. She earned a GED and she started a family soon after that.

West raised her three daughters as a single mother, working in the insurance industry. She has six grandchildren. She would play the lottery twice a week when she could afford it.

West began a job working as a procurement analyst for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield in September. After she won the lottery, she retired.

"I know the responsibility that I have to do good with this money, and my life has changed forever," she said in between tears Monday. "I plan to make thoughtful and responsible decisions on giving to my friends, my family and setting up so that my grandchildren will all have a college education."

West is establishing the Callum Foundation, named after her grandson who died after being born in April. "He was born at 24 weeks and he lived for one day," she said.

The organization will give grants in Iowa and beyond, focusing on "poverty and hunger, education, animal welfare, and veteran affairs" according to its website.

While she's going to pay it forward, she's also going to help her family.

The first thing she's going to buy? A new car.

Her Ford Fiesta has 142,000 miles on it and it's seen better days. She said she wants to buy a vehicle that can hold all her grandchildren.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116617

Reported Deaths: 3283
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8011179
DeSoto721079
Harrison539884
Jackson469387
Rankin401686
Madison384394
Lee364082
Forrest309478
Jones296184
Washington260399
Lafayette253143
Lauderdale2499135
Lamar229138
Oktibbeha203755
Bolivar202877
Neshoba1861111
Lowndes181262
Panola170640
Leflore169188
Sunflower164049
Warren156056
Monroe153073
Pontotoc149020
Marshall147330
Lincoln142959
Pike140456
Copiah138736
Scott126229
Coahoma125537
Yazoo122734
Grenada122639
Simpson122349
Union119725
Tate119339
Itawamba115926
Leake115842
Pearl River115060
Holmes114960
Adams109344
Prentiss108320
Wayne102722
Alcorn102112
George101419
Covington98529
Marion95443
Tippah93123
Newton86827
Chickasaw86226
Hancock85928
Tallahatchie84626
Winston84621
Tishomingo82241
Attala80526
Clarke76353
Clay70522
Jasper69217
Walthall64127
Calhoun62713
Noxubee60117
Smith59816
Yalobusha55614
Montgomery55423
Claiborne53916
Tunica53617
Lawrence53414
Perry51223
Carroll49712
Stone48614
Greene47918
Humphreys44916
Amite42713
Quitman4216
Jefferson Davis41711
Webster37813
Benton3608
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32715
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27710
Franklin2483
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 159439

Reported Deaths: 2699
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23573377
Mobile16994316
Tuscaloosa10462140
Montgomery10352198
Madison942298
Shelby750465
Baldwin671269
Lee657165
Calhoun464761
Marshall442651
Etowah434151
Morgan422335
Houston419334
DeKalb349228
Elmore324653
St. Clair304042
Limestone293631
Walker283793
Talladega271437
Cullman255725
Lauderdale233842
Jackson219417
Autauga208231
Franklin206432
Colbert206032
Blount197225
Russell19603
Chilton190432
Dallas188127
Coffee180711
Dale178952
Covington175929
Escambia174931
Chambers136847
Clarke136617
Pike134514
Tallapoosa133987
Marion110331
Barbour10429
Marengo102622
Butler101241
Winston94013
Geneva9217
Lawrence86933
Pickens86918
Bibb85015
Randolph83516
Hale77730
Cherokee75614
Clay75312
Washington75112
Henry7236
Lowndes71628
Monroe65510
Bullock65017
Crenshaw60930
Perry5956
Fayette58913
Cleburne5739
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56513
Macon53920
Lamar5085
Sumter47421
Choctaw39312
Greene34616
Coosa2093
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 70°
Oxford
Overcast
59° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 59°
Starkville
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 64°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather