‘Big Ed’ Stops Traffic!

By Andy Kriege

If there is ever a 10-car pileup on Highway 55 outside of Litchfield, Ill., it might likely be caused by local drivers doing double-takes of a billboard featuring the once larger-than-life “Big Ed” Wernsing, owner of Wernsing’s Appliance, looking fit and trim alongside his doctor.

Dr. Benjamin Rejowski a surgeon at SIU Medicine with his now-famous “road-side attraction” patient Big Ed Wernsing

Southern Illinois University Medicine (SIU Medicine) is running the area billboard campaign with the tagline, “Big Ed Fixes Appliances, SIU Medicine Fixes Big Ed.” There is a companion story on their website about his miraculous journey, from knocking on death’s door in a wheelchair to being back on his feet as a lean, mean appliance-dealing machine.

Formerly Big Ed now eats right, exercises regularly and thanks his wife, his medical team, and most of all the good Lord for his second lease on life.


Big Ed credits his wife Patty, a retired nurse and ICU director of 47 with saving his life.

He encourages people to face all of life’s challenges head on with strength and conviction, no matter how insurmountable they may seem. “I am off dialysis, I’ve lost 100 pounds, left the wheelchair behind, and can play golf again,” he said. “I feel like a million dollars and am very blessed.”

See: Big No More, Ed Wernsing’s Back and Better Than Ever

At the rate Wernsing is shrinking, he may soon go from a billboard to a bumper sticker. But no matter his size, his message will remain the same: “Hell, if I can do it, anyone can!” proclaims the once and always “Big Ed.”

At the rate Wernsing is shrinking, he may soon go from a billboard to a bumper sticker. But no matter his size, his message will remain the same: “Hell, if I can do it, anyone can!” proclaims the once and always “Big Ed.”

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress and CE dealers.