One of two winners of the $688 million Powerball jackpot was revealed Monday as a woman from Redfield, Iowa who happened to buy a ticket as she was picking up a slice of pizza and coffee at a local store.
Lerynne West, 51, came forward as the winner during a news conference with the Iowa Lottery.
West, a mother of three daughters and grandmother of six children, said she is going to take the lump sum option of $198.1 million and plans to use the money to help her family and friends.
The first thing she plans to buy, however, is a new car big enough "to take all my grandchildren places now," she said.
West said that she purchased her ticket on Oct. 26, a few days after buying a home in Redfield. She said she was packing her belongings when she asked her sister to take her to Casey's General Store so she could get something to eat.
As she was picking up her food, West said she also decided to buy a Powerball ticket.
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When she got back to her sister's car, West said she thought she put the ticket in her purse but accidentally dropped it on the floor of the truck.
She said she forgot about the ticket until a friend called her a few days later and told her that there was a Powerball jackpot winner in Redfield and asked if she had won.
West said she called her sister and asked her to check her car for the tickets. That's when West learned her ticket matched the Jackpot number, 4. After doing a quick search online, West found out that her ticket matched all five winning numbers — 8, 12, 13, 19 and 27.
"My girls and I use to dream of winning the lottery. Never thought we would be here today," she said, telling reporters that she was in disbelief that she had won. "As a single mom, I worked full time, went to school full time nights and weekends and my daughters had to sacrifice a lot from that."
Now that reality has hit, West said she has a responsibility to use the money as an "opportunity to impact others."
"I know the responsibility that I have to do good with this money," West said, getting emotional. "And my life has changed forever. I plan to make thoughtful and responsible decisions on giving to my friends and my family and setting up so that my grandchildren will all have a college education."
West was also setting up the "Callum Foundation" to honor of one of her grandsons who died after he was born prematurely and to help other people.
"We have a board set up that will go over the requests and decide what is in the best interests of the Callum Foundation," West said in a release from the state lottery. "The whole thing of knowing when to pull together a team and work on these plans came from years of playing and daydreaming about winning the lottery. Then once it finally happens, it’s a whole new ballgame."
Casey's, the store where West bought her ticket, will receive $10,000 from the Iowa Lottery, the Des Moines Register reported.
A second winning Powerball jackpot ticket was purchased in Harlem, New York City, but the ticket has not yet been claimed.