CLIVE, Iowa- Iowa's largest lottery winner has come forward. Lerynne West of Redfield was one of two people who matched all the numbers in a recent Powerball drawing. The total jackpot was nearly $688 million. The other winning ticket was purchased in New York. West's half is worth nearly $344 million annuity or a lump sum of $198.1 million. West has opted for the lump sum. The 51-year-old West bought her winning ticket at the Casey's in Redfield, in Dallas County.
West says she typically buys a couple lottery tickets per week, and the most recent tickets were purchased while she was busy buying and moving into a house. She says she didn't check her tickets, until a friend said someone in Iowa won. Turns out, her tickets had been left in her sister's truck, and after checking and double checking the numbers, she realized she won the jackpot, "...and it took me about a minute, going back and forth to figure out that I had won, and I said to my sister, get that ticket, get in your truck, and get up here now, and drive slow," West said during a news conference today (Monday) at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive.
West worked for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa, but has decided to retire. "I know the responsibility that I have to do good with this money, and my life had changed forever. I plan to make thoughtful and responsible decisions on giving to my friends and family, and family and (ensuring) all my grandchildren will all have a college education, and to help others I have established the Callum Foundation," said West.
The Callum Foundation is named in honor of a grandson, who died earlier this year, a day after being born.
West says personally, she plans to buy a car right away and replace hers which has more than 140-thousand miles. She says she wants a car big enough to take her grandchildren places.