Las Cruces woman honors brother who was killed in war

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico woman has embarked on a unique project to honor her brother who was killed in the Vietnam War.

John Milton Riser died during battle on June 26th, 1966, becoming the first Las Crucen to die in Vietnam.

He left behind his sister Cynthia who is now turning a fond memory of her brother into something special.

Cynthia Risner says when she was just 9-years-old they took a trip to Ruidoso and brought home a piece of prickly pear which they ended up planting in their yard. The cactus has grown all over and covers mores than 100 feet in the area.

Cynthia’s friend is creating a short film called Johnny’s Cactus, to tell the sibling’s story.

Saturday, Cynthia will give clippings of the cactus to community members to plant to help raise funds for the film.

All the donations they receive will go towards the project and recipients will be invited to create a video or take pictures of their planting. For more information about the project visit provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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