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Powerball winner donates half a million dollars to veterans group

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It's the gift that keeps on giving.A woman who won nearly $350 million with a Powerball ticket has de...

Posted: Nov. 16, 2018 8:35 AM

It's the gift that keeps on giving.

A woman who won nearly $350 million with a Powerball ticket has decided to give back to charitable organizations, including half a million dollars to a veterans group.

Lerynne West, 51, of Redfield, Iowa, told Ellen DeGeneres that she used some of the money to found The Callum Foundation, a non-profit organization.

It will provide grants to areas including "poverty and hunger, education, animal welfare, and veteran affairs," according to the foundation website.

The Callum Foundation is a special dedication to her late grandson, who she lost when he was "one day old," she explained on the show.

On "The Ellen Show," West debuted The Callum Foundation's first donation: $500,000 committed to the Travis Mill Foundation, a rehabilitation center to support veterans and their families.

Veteran affairs has always been important to West because she comes from a military family. Her father served in Vietnam, she said, and her brothers also served in the military.

The foundation has not yet narrowed down a shortlist for any other organizations that it will support, a representative for the organization told CNN.

West won the money in the October 27 drawing. The single mother of three had just bought her first home, took a break from unpacking to get a slice of pizza at Casey's convenience store and purchased a lottery ticket.

West didn't pick the number herself, and didn't immediately realize she was one of the two Powerball winners.

She thought she put the lottery ticket in her purse, but she accidentally left it on the floor of her sister's truck. It lay there for a couple days.

When a friend texted the day after the drawing to ask if she had won, West said she hadn't had a chance to check. She rifled through her purse and realized she didn't have the ticket. She quickly called her sister, who found it and told West she had won.

"I always thought if I was meant to win it, I was going to win it no matter how many tickets I buy," she told Ellen.

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