ENCINITAS — Encinitas resident Sean Lake is helping to preserve the legacy of his childhood best friend – who was one of four Americans killed in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi – through his thriving business that helps improve people’s health.
Bubs Naturals, which sells collagen supplements on Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia, is named after Lake’s friend, Glen “Bub” Doherty.
Lake and Doherty met in high school in Winchester, Massachusetts, a little suburb outside of Boston. Both tried their hand at college, but dropped out and moved to Utah together to pursue a life on the slopes.
“All of our friends graduated college, got their first real jobs, met their wives, while Glen and I were cruising around the mountains and enjoying a very fun, vagabond lifestyle,” Lake told The Coast News. “I was aspiring to become a professional snowboarder and Glen was trying to become a professional skier.”
Lake eventually achieved his goals and became a professionally sponsored snowboarder. However, despite his incredible athleticism, Doherty struggled to break into the 1990s professional skiing world.
Lake said Doherty’s path took an about-face during a surfing trip to Costa Rica, where he met a couple of Navy Seals.
“These guys got in his head that he had what it took to join up and give it a shot,” Lake said. “So he said ‘Sean, if I haven’t made it as a sponsored skier by the time I turn 25, I’m going to join the Navy and become a Navy Seal.”
And that’s exactly what happened.
Doherty began his career as a Navy Seal whileLake went back to college to earn a degree. After graduating Lake moved to Encinitas to take a job in the action sports industry working with then up-and-coming snowboarder, Shawn White.
As fate would have it, Doherty also found himself in San Diego County while stationed at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
“So, two best friends get back together,” Lake said. “Fast forward a couple of years later, and Glen and I move in together — he gets a divorce, I get a divorce, two guys turning 40 and now all of a sudden we’re bachelor roommates.”
At that point, Lake said Doherty had left the Navy to begin working as a security officer for the CIA. Both Lake and Doherty worked as coaches at Seal Fit in Encinitas, a gym started by a former Navy Seal. Every couple of months, Doherty would leave on deployment. Doherty’s final deployment was in 2012 when he and three other Americans were killed in an attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
“As his roommate, I was the executor of his estate,” Lake said. “All of a sudden I was in a very different position in my life being in charge of Glen’s affairs in a very, very public incident in the middle of an election year.”
Lake said they held a public funeral for him in their hometown of Massachusetts, followed by a celebration of life for him, and fellow slain CIA contractor Tyrone Woods, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Woods, a former Navy SEAL and resident of Imperial Beach, was also killed during the 2012 Benghazi attack.
Lake, along with Doherty’s family, founded the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation in honor of Bubs, helping former military members transition successfully out of active duty to civilian life through scholarships.
Lake said a few years later he found himself wanting to do more to preserve Doherty’s legacy.
Around the same time, Lake’s wife, Heather, introduced him to collagen.
In the first month of taking collagen, Lake said he noticed his fingernails and hair growing like crazy. By the second month, he noticed an improvement in his joints.
“We flew across the country to Boston and normally when I fly, I’m just cramped up, my knees are achy and I’m in a lot of pain and discomfort,” Lake said. “When we got off the airplane, I had one of those epiphanal moments — nothing hurts.’ And that was it. I knew I was going to be hooked for life, I was like I will take collagen forever.”
Shortly after his trip, Lake was raving about collagen to his friend, TJ Ferrara, when Ferrara suggested they start a company.
And Bubs Naturals was born.
The collagen supplement company — named after Doherty’s Navy call sign (“Bub”) — launched in 2018 and has quickly grown into a successful business. Lake said they have a large number of loyal customers, including the San Diego Padres and roughly half of the teams in Major League Baseball.
Bubs Naturals donates 10 percent of its profits to Doherty’s foundation, which has so far amassed $101,000.
“It’s pretty neat to share his legacy to promote healthy living,” Lake said. “Taking something that is a tragic event and turning it into a positive is one of the best ways that you can go through that kind of transition, to find that brightness from obscurity. And to be able to channel that into helping others has been an absolutely uplifting experience.”