By Juli McDonald

NEWTON (CBS) – Wheeling through the hallways of Newton-Wellesley Hospital, you might hear Samuel Hartley’s pager beeping before you see him.

That’s because the environmental services team is in high demand around the clock.

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“I’ve worked here for six years and I love this place,” Hartley said. “It’s a family.”

“From the hallways, to the rooms, to the equipment, to the stretchers. Everything has to be clean, every time. We need to provide a safe, clean environment. We couldn’t do it without them,” said ER nurse Kathy Reda.

Samuel Hartley, environmental services at Newton Wellesley Hospital (WBZ-TV)

You might consider the environmental services staff some of the unsung heroes of the pandemic.

“At the beginning it was very, very, scary. I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Hartley, of Worcester, recalled.

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This year, Newton-Wellesley has been busier than ever before. They’ve treated more than 1500 COVID patients throughout the pandemic – but delayed care and behavioral health needs are also adding to unprecedented patient volume.

“Our emergency department was built for 155 patients and to date we are seeing more than 200 patients a day,” said nurse director Colleen Arsenault.

More patients means way more pages for Samuel and his team. When asked if he hears that pager in his sleep, Hartley replied, “I try not to! I try to block it out when I reach home to relax with my family.”

Relaxing with his family is Samuel’s happy place. It’s their faces in his mind during the stressful shifts. They know his same fears – Samuel’s wife works in a nursing home; his daughter is a nurse at MGH.

“We are in it all together,” he said. “Supporting each other.”

On the clock or off, it’s the way he describes both families at home and work. In it together.

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“I’m very, very, proud of the work in this hospital. We work here as a team, doctors, nurses. All together, support each other. Try to do the best job we can. I love this place,” Hartley said.

Juli McDonald