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Iowa Powerball Winner Gives $500K to Veterans Group

The Maine-based organization offers programs for disabled veterans

An Iowa woman who shared a nearly $700 million Powerball lottery jackpot has donated $500,000 to a veterans group.

Lerynne West announced on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" broadcast Wednesday that she gave the money to the Travis Mills Foundation. The Maine-based organization offers programs for disabled veterans.

Before announcing her gift, West recounted buying the winning ticket at a convenience store in the small Iowa community of Redfield, then leaving it on the floor of her sister's pickup. After submitting her ticket to officials, she promised to use her winnings to help others and started the Callum Foundation in honor of her late grandson "who was born at 24 weeks and lived one day."

"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 said. 

In announcing her donation to the Travis Mills Foundation, West said she comes from a family of military vets; her father is a Vietnam veteran and three of her brothers served in the military. 

West says it's important "that we never forget the sacrifices our soldiers and families make for our country."

Robert Bailey of New York City bought the other winning ticket.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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