Milestone birthdays are great. All of your friends and family get together to share food, drinks, and memories. Childhood friends come to visit, family members share old embarrassing photos, and good friends share humiliating stories.
Glen “BUB” Doherty,our company namesake, would have been fifty years old this week, on July 10th. He’s not here to attend his birthday celebration, but we’re throwing one anyway, sharing a bit about who he was and how those close to him remember him.
Doherty was one of the four Americans killed in the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 12, 2012. He was 42 years old.
Glen grew up in Winchester, MA. Phil Svahn had known Glen since childhood. They played soccer together in Winchester, where both of their father’s coached. “There was always a little bit of a competitive element in sports, football, lacrosse, wrestling. We were always doing something,” Phil told me over the phone. “We’d run the lake, work out in Glen’s garage, get in some weightlifting, take the bus to Harvard Square, watch movies together at Glen’s place. All the usual stuff.”
Tom Donahue, another one of Glen’s childhood buddies, remembers the same thing about Glen. “He was the one that would share his lunch with you if you needed it. He was easy to laugh, always,” Tom said. “He was the kind of friend that if he came over and you were raking the yard, he’d just grab a rake too,” Tom said.
Sean Lake, co-founder of BUBS Naturals, was also a part of the group, growing up with Glen and staying friends with him until he passed.
The whole gang of misfits somehow managed to make it through highschool. After they graduated, it was clear to everyone that Glen wasn’t going to follow a traditional path. “A normal path for G-Money was never going to happen,” Tom said. “It wasn’t in his cards, so to have a ‘romantic ending’ or a dynamic end, it's kind of fitting for him. It’s something that he would have enjoyed.”
Phil went on to college and then law school but kept in touch with Glen while he adventured through Colorado, then Utah, then Costa Rica, then the Navy. “There was kind of a balance about it,” Phil said. “My path was informing and narrow, but i’ve got Glen to kind balance it off. Like, hey anything is possible. Whenever I knew he was coming to visit, it was like oh man I’ve got to catch up with him because maybe he’ll convince me to do something crazy again, just like last time.”
Glen always had something he wanted to do. A hike up some obscure trail he had just heard about, or deciding to go camping at sunset, driving through the night to set up camp. Skydiving, spontaneous road trips, sneaking into a baseball game, Glen was up for it and it was usually his idea.
Snow, not school.
It was in those Utah years that Glen met Beth Price. Sean Lake and Glen were still thick as thieves, living out their lives in Utah while living as ski bums around Snowbird. Beth had come to visit a friend, who was staying with Glen at the time. When she showed up, Glen was the only one home. “I walked into the house, and he was wearing acid wash jeans and listening to John cougar Mellencamp. I was a little nervous,” Beth wrote. But there was no need for nerves. The first day she met him, he chaperoned her around Salt Lake City. Beth and Glen quickly became great friends and stayed that way. “I don’t think I’ve ever been around anyone that has made me feel more comfortable in my skin and gave me the ability to be whoever I want whenever I want and say whatever I want,” she remembers.
Beth and Glen stayed friends, even after that trip. “He was really just the greatest friend, we would travel together, meet up at surf spots. We went cross country skiing together, all of it,” she said.
From snow to surf.
Marty Wisehart was living in his car, washing dishes in a restaurant at Snowbird, when he met Glen and Sean. They invited Marty over one night and then he just never left, becoming their roommate and remaining friends with Lake to this day.
The two made a boys trip out to Costa Rica to surf and have some fun, to celebrate Glen’s 25th birthday. It was on this trip that Marty taught Glen how to surf. It was at Pavones, one of the longest lefts in the world. “Glen finally caught his first wave,” Marty remembers.
Marty had slept in a little bit later that morning, so Glen (always an early riser anyway) paddled out alone. (Picture that. Paddling out at Pavones, solo, having not ever even stood up on a board before!) Marty got up, out of bed, grabbed a cup of coffee and walked out to the beach. “He was so fucking determined to learn to surf at that point. The powers that be woke me up that morning to get me out on that beach,” Marty remembers.
“It was a small day, but it was good. There wasn’t anyone else out and I walk out on the beach and I look way out to the distance and I see Glen freaking stand up. And it’s a long, long point, and he just keeps trimming all the way down the point, all the way into the beach,” Marty laughs, recalling that moment.
That Costa Rica trip would be pivotal for learning to surf, but also for another major life moment: The moment Glen decided to become a Navy SEAL.
Glen went out one night without Marty, to the casino, where he met a group of Navy SEALs at the bar. They told Glen about what they did and that sealed the deal for Glen.
“I guess he had this deal with himself that if he wasn’t locked and loaded in a badass career, or some higher education by the time he was 25, then he would join the Navy,” Marty said.
So, he did.
From surf to service.
Meeting those SEALs in Costa Rica on his 25th birthday trip convinced Glen to join the Navy. Once they got home, Glen quietly went and saw a recruiter. He knew from the get go that it was SEAL or nothing.
Shane Hiatt served in the teams with Glen. The two men very quickly got on and ended up in a platoon together. They had similar backgrounds, “outdoorsy shit” as Hiatt called it on the phone with me. “We were both middle kids too. And our moms must have been cut from the same cardboard,” Hiatt told me. “Also lots of childhood similarities, with our parents and stuff.”
In the summer of 2000 during a work up for their first deployment, Shane had the itch to go climbing something fierce. So he took a few weeks off and headed to American Fork. He’s three of four days into his trip, near a heavy stream at the bottom of a canyon, kind of in the middle of nowhere really, and who drives by?
Glen, seeing Hiatt’s truck, stops to say hello. Next thing you know, Glen’s invited Hiatt to the wedding that Glen was headed to, the wedding of someone Shane had never met. Shane accepted, walked on out of that canyon and accompanied Glen to the stranger’s wedding. “I met 50 or 60 people that night, a bunch of hippy types in a middle of nowhere wedding with Glen. I’m still in touch with many of them now,” he told me.
“I’m convinced that Glen was like a conjunction box. It’s not that it’s six degrees of separation, it was more of a contribution of people that are junction boxes. Glen was a junction box, effortlessly. Part of his legacy is that absolutely everyone thinks they were his best friend, because they absolutely were,” Hiatt recalls.
Hiatt and Doherty worked together through Iraq, serving together for several more years. The two wound up living in the same town after their service as SEALs. Glen was working with Mark Divine at US CrossFit, in Encinitas, CA where Mark and Glen were teaching SEALFit Kokoro camps. Glen was the only actual SEAL instructor at the camp at the time, and so he called up his buddy Shane and asked him to come help him out. Hiatt did and, like so many of Glen’s other friends, decided that he would stay. “Got into that from 2010 - 2014, all because of Glen,” he said.
When Glen was preparing to deploy for his last mission, one of the last things he did was get his motorcycle ready for Shane before he left. “I used to ride it a lot when I was down there with him, and so Glen knew I'd be riding it when he was gone. He wanted to make sure it was in good condition for me before he left. That’s the type of guy he was,” Shane said.
Glen was also the type of man that would show up in your driveway if he knew you were struggling. Phil Donahue, Glen’s childhood friend, had just moved from New York to Austin, TX and immediately after fell into a bit of a hard time. Glen was in the middle of training in Ft. Worth. And one day, Glen just pulls up into Phil’s driveway, in a van he may or may not have had permission to borrow, in the middle of long, intense SEAL training, to check in on a friend in a rough patch. “I think about Glen all the time. There are days when it’s really hard,” Phil told me. “If I saw him today, there’d be a fair amount of shit talking, a bunch of beers, lots to eat. Whatever it is, we’d be in it together with that big smile. And as soon as we’re done, he’d ask ‘Okay now what are we going to do?’”
Marty, who is just three months younger than Glen, feels this loss on this milestone birthday too. “We had all these crazy stories of what fifty would be like. We had all these big plans that involved private planes, islands, and surfing….celebrating 50 with him...an overwhelming feeling amongst all our people that all Glen ever wanted was for his people to be happy and content. That's what 50 would feel like, we would sit down and cross our legs and look out amongst all our people and be like, Fuck yeah. High five,” he said.
For Hiatt, if Glen was here now, “Unequivocally, we would still be friends and we’d still be doing all the same shit and talking the same shit. We’d keep linking up on the road, working, playing, always a little bit of both.”
For others, Glen is still here. “I talk to him almost every day. He was the best guy friend a girl could ever have. We would call each other, all the time, with everything we were thinking of. Funny things, weird things, all the things. I still tell him those things,” Beth Price told me.
For the rest, the ones that never met him, he’s still being celebrated. We celebrate Glen every time we do theCrossFit Hero WOD that was named after him. We celebrateGlen with the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation. We celebrate Glen with theCult of Recreationalism every year. We celebrate Glen with hisfamous homemade chili. With good whiskey on his birthday. With the commitment and dedication toclean products that would make him proud. We celebrate Glen by tending after those that sometimes need tending to. We celebrate Glen with a little bit ofrabble-rousing. We celebrate Glen.
Happy birthday, Glen.