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Iowa Powerball Jackpot Winner Pledges to Help Others with Winnings

Iowa Powerball Jackpot Winner Pledges to Help Others with Winnings
Iowa Powerball Jackpot Winner Pledges to Help Others with Winnings

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa's best kept secret is out! A Redfield woman is Iowa's lucky lady after claiming the winning Powerball ticket Monday. The $344 million ticket was purchased at a gas station in Redfield last month and the winner says she won't let the life changing amount of money change her.

Lerynne West, 51, is a single mother of three and has already retired from her job at Wellmark. She says she wants to buy a new car and help out family and friends.

"My life has changed and I'm going to take a little bit to figure out what my new normal is but I want to assure you that I never to want to forget where I came from."

West says that is a place of humble beginnings. She began working in middle school to help support her family then later dropped out of high school. At the age of 19, she earned her GED.

"As a single mom I worked full - time. I went to school full - time at nights and on weekends. My daughters had to sacrifice a lot for that," West says as she chokes back tears.

West also plans to financially support charitable causes and organizations she is passionate about. She has already launched a charity organization in honor of her late grandson Callum. West says the purpose of it is to honor others by doing good.

Playing the lottery isn't out of the ordinary for West. She would buy tickets sometimes twice a week when she could afford them. The most she had ever won before was $150. The winning Powerball ticket was purchased at the Casey's gas station in Redfield then quickly forgot about. West left it on the floor of her sister's pickup truck over the weekend and had to be reminded it was there.

West opted to take the prize money in a lump sum which equates to roughly $198 million with taxes taken out.