Grandmother who won mega Powerball jackpot donates huge chunk to veterans group

Credit: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Credit: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

A grandmother from Iowa is sharing her good fortune after hitting a mega Powerball jackpot.

Lerynne West won half of almost $700 million in the Powerball lottery last month, The Associated Press reported. Her portion came to $343.9 million, the Des Moines Register reported.

West had misplaced the ticket she had bought that turned out to be the winner. It was found a day after the drawing on the floor of her sister’s pickup truck.

None of her relatives believed that she was one of only two winners, the other coming from New York, the AP reported.

Explore>>Read: Iowa grandmother claims $343.9 million Powerball jackpot

But it was true. West chose the cash option so, instead of the $343.9 million, she walked away with $198.1 million before taxes, the AP reported.

She said she would share her windfall with her daughters and other family members. She was also going to help pay for her grandchildren's college educations. West had one more thing that she wanted to do with the money, so she set up The Callum Foundation, named after a grandson who was born premature and only lived for a single day, the AP reported.

The foundation will provide financial help for those who need it.

West made good on her promise on an episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" that aired Wednesday.

She told DeGeneres, "When I won the lottery, I thought, 'I have a responsibility to do good for other people and to help other people out, as well.'"

West announced that she is giving $500,000 through the foundation to a group that helps wounded veterans, the Register reported.

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Why did she decide to help The Travis Mills Foundation? West told DeGeneres that her father was a Vietnam veteran and her three brothers also served in the military, the Register reported.

The Travis Mills Foundation helps vets and their families by using long-term programs to help overcome physical obstacles and to strengthen their families. It also gives them rest and relaxation.

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