Iowa Powerball winner gives $500,000 to wounded veterans group

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Lerynne West, 51, split the Powerball jackpot with one other ticket that hasn't been turned in.

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

Lerynne West, 51, 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. She won $343.9 million.

“It’s very important to me that we never forget the sacrifices soldiers and their family members make for our country,” West said.

Robert Bailey of New York bought the other winning ticket.

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