"It's almost like a ghost town. That doesn't make me love it any less," Johnston said. "My heart is in McDowell County."
Many West Virginians - even those who have left - feel that way about their home.
Unless you are from a growing area like the Eastern Panhandle, or Putnam County, or maybe Morgantown, there is a good chance your community isn't what it used to be.
The viewing of "Hollow" that I attended included a class of seniors at Riverside. At one point, Elaine asked how many plan to stay in West Virginia.
With students, it's hard to tell if they're being shy or quietly thinking over what you've said. Anyway, only a few cautiously raised their hands. One boy offered that he would probably end up working in the coal mines.
Elaine provided her own point of view: "I left, and now I'm trying to figure out how to make it back."
If you are interested in the story of West Virginians, told by themselves, you don't have to go anywhere besides a computer in your own home.
Just install Google Chrome -the web browser that works best with the way "Hollow" was set up - and go to http://hollowdocumentary.com/
Once you're there, you scroll through multi-layered pictures. As the images move, hotspots appear with links to videos and other features.
There are 30 stories that can be watched in any order, all according to your own preference.
If you watch, you might recognize the reflection of your own home, your own people, your own life.
Brad McElhinny is the editor and publisher of the Charleston Daily Mail. He is available at 304-348-5124 or bra...@dailymail.com.Follow him on Twitter @BradMcElhinny or visit his newsroom blog at http://blogs.dailymail.com/editorsdesk/.