JACKSON (WWJ) – A Jackson, Michigan couple will receive a special achievement award from the National Foundation of Credit Counseling after they swore off bankruptcy and paid off nearly a $100,000 debt on their own.

WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeil reports that, in 2005, the shoe dropped for Sue and Jerry Bailey. They needed money and couldn’t get a loan.

READ MORE: 133,000 People Remain Under Boil Water Advisory In Michigan, Could Take Weeks Before Water Is Safe To Drink

The couple had 17 credit cards between them. When Jerry Bailey met with a credit counselor at GreenPath Debt Solutions he was stunned to find out how much he owed — $92,000.

“When you spread out debt among that many difference places it doesn’t seem like so much,” said Bailey.

“We never really sat down and added up everything that we owed until we did that with our counselor at Greenpath. That was a very sickening moment,” he said.

READ MORE: Salvation Army Collecting Supplies For Back To School Drive

Bailey, who’s a pastor, got a second job and worked as much as 40 hours a week so they could make $650 weekly payments.

In five years, the debt was gone.

Sue Bailey said they never considered bankruptcy because she believes you pay what you owe.

MORE NEWS: Detroit Police Searching For Multiple Carjacking Suspects

“And we wanted to be a good example to our church, to our family. It could happen to anybody,” she said.