Eight-year-old Andrew Gradziel is a young boy with a heart full of empathy.

As Valentine’s Day approached, he spent three weeks making 51 valentines for residents of the St. Joseph/Kervick Home in Rutland so residents “would feel love in their heart.”

He and his mother, Marianne, visited the Vermont Catholic Charities elder care home to distribute them in the activities room on Valentine’s Day and spent time visiting with residents.

“The residents just loved having Andrew here on Valentine Day,” said Rosie Poczobut, activity director. “They could not get over how these were not your typical valentine. He had every valentine different from the other. Andrew is such a cute, loving little guy.”

Many of the cards he made had cardboard inserts of hearts or 3D flowers; they were like little gifts inside the cards.

His favorite valentines featured a jet; he collects model jets and flies a remote-control plane. He is interested in World War II history; one grandfather served in that war and his other grandfather served in Korea.

“The residents were thrilled and took their valentine back to their room to be admired. The men were just as happy as the women,” Poczobut said. Some displayed their card in their room for decoration; some shared it with other residents.

Andrew lives in Sudbury and will be making his First Communion later this year at Our Lady of Seven Dolors Church in Fair Haven. “Jesus said, ‘Love one another as I have loved you,’” he said.

And that’s what the homeschooled boy, an only child, was doing with his valentines.

The Gradziels chose St. Joseph Kervick Home as the recipient of the missives because Mrs. Gradziel’s grandmother had “taken care of the Sisters” of St. Joseph who lived there when it was Mount St. Joseph Convent.

Andrew enjoys spending time with older people. “I feel very happy with them,” he said.

And they enjoy their time with him. “On Valentine’s Day when he was here passing the valentines out, he was happy because he could see all the smiles and hugs and compliments he was getting,” Poczobut said. “He understood how all his hard work had paid off in helping these residents. I explained to him how much love he had brought to these people and how much they all appreciated him.”

Andrew, who enjoys reading and writing, also made 48 Lenten mementos he distributed at Our Lady of Seven Dolors Church: He attached a crayon to cards that bore the message, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Now he is working on a spring poster to deliver to St. Joseph Kervick Home for Easter.

His concern for others makes his parents proud. “He’s a little guy with a big heart. It reaffirms what his Dad and I teach him about empathy,” his mother said.