Lerynne West, an Iowa resident, and a single mother, turned her Powerball jackpot win into a beacon of hope for U.S. veterans in need. Winning a massive $350 million, she chose a path less traveled by lottery winners, focusing on charitable giving rather than personal luxuries.
Her first major act of generosity was donating $500,000 to support veterans. During her appearance on The Ellen show, West spoke about her lottery win and her decision to establish The Callum Foundation. Named in memory of her late grandson, this foundation aims to combat poverty, support animal welfare, and help U.S. veterans.
The Callum Foundation’s initial donation went to The Travis Mills Foundation, an organization dedicated to assisting combat-injured veterans. West’s family background, with three brothers who are combat veterans and a father who served in Vietnam, deeply influenced her choice to support veteran causes.
Before her life-changing win, West faced numerous challenges. She juggled multiple jobs to raise her three children and only bought her first home at 51. The winning lottery ticket was purchased during a casual stop for pizza and coffee at a gas station while moving to her new home. A regular player, West had always hoped for a big win.
It wasn’t until a friend inquired about her ticket that West realized it was still in her sister’s car. Discovering that she was the jackpot winner from Iowa, she embarked on a journey of generosity and compassion.
Lerynne West’s story, from her humble beginnings to her grand lottery win and her selfless use of the fortune, is a true inspiration, showing that wealth can be a powerful tool for making a positive impact in the lives of others.