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Iowa Powerball winner claims $343.9 million check

She nearly lost the ticket after leaving it on the floor of her sister’s truck.

Single mom almost missed out on $350M Powerball jackpot

A single mother was all smiles (and a few tears) recently when she claimed a $343.9 million check for being one of two winners of the $687.8 million Powerball jackpot.

“I have been extremely blessed to win this big Powerball,” Lerynne West, 51, of Redfield, Iowa, said during a news conference Monday at Iowa Lottery headquarters. “This will forever change my life.”

West, the mother of three adult daughters and six grandchildren, said she’d worked full time and attended school full time as she raised her children. She thanked her family and friends, some of whom were present at Monday’s event, for their love and support.

“My girls and I used to dream of winning the lottery,” West said. “Never thought we would be here today.”

West said she would take the $198.1 million lump-sum option.

“I know the responsibility that I have to do good with this money.”

In a news release Monday, the Iowa Lottery said this latest drawing was the largest lottery prize ever won in the state. The other jackpot winner was in New York City, though that winning ticket had yet to be claimed.

West said Monday she usually played the lottery twice a week when she had the money. She said the most she’d ever won prior to the Powerball jackpot was $150.

On Oct. 26, West, who had just purchased her first home, was with her sister when she bought a lottery ticket while grabbing a bite to eat and some coffee. When she got into her sister’s truck, she said, she thought she’d put the tickets into her purse.

The morning day after the Oct. 27 Powerball drawing, a friend called her to say that someone had won in Iowa. When she couldn’t find her tickets, West said, she called her sister who found them on the floor of her truck and sent her a picture of the numbers. When West checked them against the winning numbers, she was in disbelief.

“I said to my sister, ‘Get that ticket, get in your truck and get up here now — and drive slow,'” West said Monday.

A now-retired health care analyst, West said her winnings would ensure her grandchildren were able to afford college and that she could take care of her family, including seven siblings and her mother.

She said her family had also established the Callum Foundation, named after a grandson who was born prematurely and died a day later, to help others in need.

“I know the responsibility that I have to do good with this money. I do consider myself very lucky and very blessed,” she said. “I never want to forget where I came from.”

Lerynne West, a single mother and grandmother in Iowa, spoke repeatedly about her life being changed and feeling a sense of responsibility to help others.

Iowa lottery powerball winners

CLIVE, Iowa — A northwest Iowa man bought a Powerball ticket at a time he normally wouldn’t and ended up winning a $1 million prize.

“I usually wait until the jackpot’s up really high, and then I’ll buy a ticket,” Shane Saxen of Correctionville said as he claimed his prize Monday at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive. “In this case, I just decided, ‘Why not? I’ll get one.’”

Saxen’s ticket came within one number of having at least a share of Saturday’s $80 million Powerball jackpot. He matched the first five numbers but missed the Powerball to win a $1 million prize.

News that someone had won big in Correctionville spread quickly in the Woodbury County community of about 800.

“My sister heard that there was a $1 million prize and asked if I bought a ticket,” Saxen said. “And I said, ‘Yes,’ so she goes, ‘Well go get your ticket and I’ll check your numbers.’ And I checked my ticket and I had the winning numbers!

“At first I didn’t believe her, and I said, ‘No way,’” he recalled. “And then she’s like, ‘No, seriously. For real.’ I just kind of paused for a second and my stomach dropped. And it was cool.”

Saxen bought his easy-pick ticket at Brew, a convenience store and coffee shop at 404 11th St. in Correctionville. His big win came on Feb. 29, the Leap Year date that falls on a Saturday, one of the days when Powerball drawings occur, only about every 28 years.

Saturday’s winning Powerball numbers were: 24-44-46-50-51 and Powerball 13. The Power Play® number was 3. No one matched all six numbers to win the jackpot, so the big prize climbs to an estimated $90 million annuity ($67.9 million lump-sum option) for Wednesday.

Brew will receive a $1,000 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling the $1 million-winning ticket at one of its stores.

Saxen, 31, who works as a campus security officer at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, said he plans to invest most of his winnings for retirement planning, and there likely will be a new set of wheels in his future.

“I’ll probably trade in my vehicle now for a new vehicle,” he said. “I’ll be doing some thinking about what I want to do.”

And he’s glad that his sister sped up his timeline in checking his ticket.

“I would have probably heard about somebody winning it and then obviously I would have known I bought a ticket. I know I would have eventually checked mine,” he said. “Everyone’s talking about it!”

Players in $2 Powerball choose their first five numbers from a pool of 69, and another number – called the Powerball – from a separate pool of 26. The Power Play® option is available for an extra $1 per play.

Since getting its start in April 1992 in 15 states with jackpots that started at a guaranteed $2 million, Powerball has grown into one of the world’s biggest and most recognizable lottery games. Today Powerball is played by 48 lotteries across the country with drawings at 9:59 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

About the Iowa Lottery: Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $4.5 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $2 billion for state programs. Today, lottery proceeds have four main purposes in Iowa. They provide support for our state’s veterans and their families through the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund; support through the Iowa Public Safety Survivor Benefits Fund for the family members of Iowa peace officers and fire fighters who die in the line of duty; help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund; and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.

CLIVE, Iowa — A northwest Iowa man bought a Powerball ticket at a time he normally wouldn’t and ended up winning a $1 million prize.