Resident Spotlight

Mar 7, 2024

By Joan Hecht

This is the first in a continuing series of introductions to Deercreek neighbors living in our community. If you know a fellow Deercreek resident that you feel should be featured in this series, please send an email to

Meet Deercreek Resident, Natalia Solyeva.

Natalia was born and raised in the south-central region of Ukraine, where she earned a master’s degree in political science and international Relations. Shortly after graduating college, Natalia served for three years as a Diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ukraine. In addition to her media and press related talents, Natalia speaks four languages: Ukrainian, English, Russian and Polish. At age 22, she applied for a position in one of the most highly sought after locations-the United States. She was immediately awarded the position as the Press Attaché for the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, DC.

What brought you to Jacksonville: Specifically, Deercreek?

While serving as Press Attaché for the Ukrainian Embassy, I met my husband, long time Deercreek resident, Bert Watson. Bert was a lobbyist for Defense and Technology and had taken a specific interest in Ukraine. Bert had personally visited Ukraine 5 times and had developed personal and working relationships with Ukrainian Diplomats in Washington, DC. It was during one of those meetings with a diplomat in DC, that Bert realized he had left his luggage in his UBER. The diplomat told him not to worry that he had someone who could help him find the driver and have his luggage returned. That person was, Natalia. It was a brief meeting, but when Bert asked for her contact info to send a thank you note for her help, he and Natalia began corresponding via Facebook. A month later, Bert visited Washington for their first date, which lasted three days, in which the two were inseparable. After several months of communicating and commuting back and forth, between Washington DC and Jacksonville they became engaged. Two months later, they were married. Natalia’s only request was to be married beneath the beautiful canopy of Spanish moss that adorns so many of our southern trees. A small reception followed at their beautiful Deercreek home. Natalia remained in Washington for one year, commuting back and forth between the two states until completing her employment contract. She is now a producer with NBC-First Coast News with the weekday television show, First Coast Living and she was recently nominated for the position of “Honorary Council for Ukraine” in Jacksonville.

What are some of your favorite Deercreek memories?

In the days following the onset of war between Ukraine and Russia, Deercreek neighbors stopped me on the street to ask how my family and friends were doing in Ukraine and what they could do to help. I have family within 12 miles of a missile zone. One morning, I walked outside to find yellow and blue ribbons tied on my tree in support of Ukraine, left by fellow neighbor Sandy Hunt. Ukrainians were taken completely by surprise with this invasion and many of my friends, who had no military training, were activated into the military in an effort to help protect their cities and families. They were in desperate need of medical and survival supplies and asked for help. Once again, my Deercreek neighbors stepped up, not only by donating money, but also by donating much need supplies like band aids and gauze, etc. Some of those neighbors even gathered in our home to assist with putting these kits together. “I love the way in which my Deercreek neighbors care for each other and how they have welcomed me into their homes. It reminds me of my family and friends back in Ukraine. That love and support has meant so much to me”.

Hobbies: Painting (acrylic and watercolor), photography and blogging. Natalia and Bert are the proud parents of two rescued Miniature Pinschers, Nike and Darla and a rescued cat, Frankie.

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