GLENS FALLS — Matthew Rozell’s new book tells the story of Francis S. Currey, a soldier from Selkirk who fought in World War II.
Currey was a member of the Army’s 30th Infantry Division and a Medal of Honor recipient who had a G.I. Joe doll created in his likeness. Currey died in October 2019.
“He was an orphan, and at age 19, he found himself in Europe as a replacement soldier,” Rozell said. “On Dec. 21, 1944, he did some pretty amazing things. He saved a handful of American soldiers; he knocked out at least one German tank. He did it over the course of like four or five hours.”
The GI Joe action figure is on display in Rozell’s new store on the third floor of the Shirt Factory on Lawrence Street in Glens Falls.
He is splitting the space, Suite 308, with his 20-year-old daughter, Mary Rozell, a college student and budding photographer. She will use half the space as her photography studio. Her photography can be viewed at maryrozellphoto.com.
Rozell has sold his books at the Shirt Factory’s holiday sales in past years, where he occupied a table in the hallway. The new store will hold its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day during Black Friday weekend, Nov. 27-29.
“It’s kind of cool to have a place to put my stuff,” said Rozell, a retired history teacher from Hudson Falls High School. “I’m literally unpacking my school archives that went up on a shelf at home.”
He has been able to unpack and display propaganda posters as well as newspaper clippings from World War II. The shop boasts a banner signed by Holocaust survivors and the Americans who freed them.
Also on display — and for sale — are all of his books, including his newest title released last month, “The Bulge and Beyond.” It is the sixth book in his “The Things Our Fathers Saw” series.
All titles will be available for purchase for $20-$35. Rozell will be happy to sign copies.
Rozell’s books grew out of an oral history project he started when he taught high school history. He invited World War II veterans into his classroom and recorded their stories. He wrote his first two books before he retired.
His book business really started to take off over the summer when he started a new Shopify store called matthewrozellbooks.com.
“We’re shipping so many books a day, I just literally physically can’t keep up with it,” Rozell said.
He donates some of his book proceeds to four veterans nonprofit groups, and he supports the Wounded Warriors Project. He said his books help heal veterans from the trauma they experienced during their time at war.
That trauma gets passed down through generations of families, he said.
“The books are very emotional,” Rozell said. “The books feature a lot of veterans who are telling their stories for the first time.”
Sharing their stories gives veterans a chance to process their personal histories, Rozell said.
“They’ve held it in their entire lives,” Rozell said. “And it really wasn’t until 50 years after the war that they felt they could begin to talk.”
Gretta Hochsprung writes hometown news and covers Washington County. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-742-3206. Follow her on Twitter @GrettaHoch or at her blog on www.poststar.com.