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Applebee's aids Right to Hike fund-raising campaign

By Jaya Franklin

jfranklin@henryherald.com

Forty metro Atlanta Applebee's Restaurants will participate in a fund-raiser to support the Right to Hike organization.

The Right to Hike group is a non-profit organization that promotes the causes and interests that were close to the heart of 24-year-old hiker, Meredith Hope Emerson, who was murdered while hiking in the north Georgia Mountains in January.

The organization promotes hiking safety, study-abroad programs and security for people with domesticated animals -- all activities associated with Emerson.

Applebee's officials are asking the public to participate in a dine-to-donate campaign, beginning June 25. Members of the public can donate 15 percent of their total bill to the non-profit organization, when dining at Applebee's restaurants.

The money donated will support three of the foundation's initiatives, including equipping hikers with GPS devices that allow emergency services to locate them; microchipping for domesticated animals, and help to students studying abroad in France through the University of Georgia's Meredith Hope Emerson Memorial Award.

"We want to ensure other hikers can feel safe, while doing what they love, by giving them access to satellite personal outdoor trackers (SPOTS)," said Julia Karrenbauer, Emerson's former co-worker and board member of Right to Hike, Inc.

Karrenbauer said the devices allow hikers to send messages for help, and provide emergency personnel a way to help locate hikers, if they become injured or lost.

Anyone who would like to participate in the event, can log on to the Right to Hike web site and print out an invitation. For more information, log on to: www.righttohikeinc.com.