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SALT LAKE CITY — An American hero with strong ties to Utah will be laid to rest this week.
Glen Doherty was killed while protecting the American Embassy in Libya when it came under attack on Sept. 11. His Utah friends say he was the life of the party, a man who loved the outdoors and being with family and friends.
Doherty was a Navy SEAL — one of the most elite warriors in the United States. He was part of the team that took down Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003.
Generally, he was someone you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley, unless you were on his side.
"I met Glen in 1990, backcountry skiing up at Alta," said Mark Ellefsen. The two hit it off immediately, as both had a passion for all things outdoors.
Doherty lived in Salt Lake for years, spending much of that time in the early ‘90s on the ski runs at Snowbird in the winter, and hiking the mountains in the summer. He was a magnet, called the glue of a tight-knit circle of friends.
"He was that kind of guy," said Susan Neff, also of friend of Doherty's. "Glen has a million friends worldwide … OK, he has hundreds of friends worldwide."
Neff said Doherty felt a special connection to Utah. "It's just his love for the mountains and Snowbird and all the canyons," she said. "And yeah, Utah was his home."
But at the same time, Neff said, Doherty had a higher calling. He ultimately joined the Navy and, like every other aspect of his life, excelled to the top.
When Ellefsen got the call his friend of more than 20 years had been killed, he was heartbroken.
"Ultimately, I think for a lot of us, (it was) not completely shocking, (but) tremendously, tremendously sad," Ellefsen said.
Doherty died shortly after helping some 30 people who were trapped in the U.S. embassy get into a helicopter and escape to freedom. It's something, his friends said, that was simply in his DNA; he was always helping others.
"The greater good was to go out and extend himself to make the world better, to make the lives of people better. And that was his No. 1 concern, and so he put his life on the line in order to do that every day of his job," Ellefsen said.
Doherty was from Boston. A group of his Utah friends will take an overnight flight there Monday night in order to attend his visitation and funeral.